A second booster (fourth Covid vaccine shot) is being proposed for Aged Care residents in Australia, set to be rolled out before the onset of Winter.
The federal government is already working with various Aged Care providers to prepare the logistics with a priority placed on vulnerable residents.
The difficulty comes with the two week wait period that was recommended between the regular flu shot and the fourth Covid shot. Experts have said that residents should maintain a fourteen-day between the two in order to give the body’s immune system (particularly in fragile patients) a chance to react.
Aged Care Services Minister Richard Colbeck has made a statement revising this stance, saying that he has received subsequent medical advice that would allow both vaccines to be administered at the same time. This makes the fourth shot rollout easier to organise.
“A flu jab in one arm and the Covid vaccine [fourth shot] in the other arm is the likely scenario,” said Colbeck.
The fourth shot is not yet official policy, partly because studies regarding its effectiveness are in their early stages.
“The jury’s still out,” added Colbeck, regarding the fourth shot. “We don’t have formal advice that we will do an extra booster, but we are preparing effectively as if we will.”
Australian health experts are worried about the severity of the 2022 flu season due to extended lockdown periods and an unusually low general transmission of flu in 2021. It could signal a worse than usual flu season this winter.
“We want to get it done before winter if it needs to be done.”
At the moment, the government only has access to a fourth shot of the existing Covid vaccine. There is no confirmation yet on when or if an Omicron-specific booster advertised by several vaccine manufacturers will be ready – or even if a new variant will have emerged before winter.