Australia won't be able to meet booster campaign target: Reports

WION Web Team
Melbourne, Australia Published: Dec 19, 2021, 10:22 AM(IST)

Authorities are urging people to get jabbed against coronavirus. File photo Photograph:( Reuters )

Story highlights

In the initial days of vaccine programme, the Australian government faced problems in convincing the local population to get vaccinated. Amid the rising vaccine hesitancy in the country, Australia had a slow start in the vaccine rollout

While Australia has opened booster shot to locals who have had their second dose of Covid jab more than five months ago, the country might not be able to achieve its target of 80 per cent till year end.

An analysis by western media house, Guardian, has showed that despite the government’s consistent tries of getting people vaccinated as soon as possible, Australia might suffer from the problem of vaccine hesitancy.

In the initial days of vaccine programme, the Australian government faced problems in convincing the local population to get vaccinated. Amid the rising vaccine hesitancy in the country, Australia had a slow start in the vaccine rollout.

This slow pace translated into more than half of all second doses being administered in the final four months of 2021. Now, the booster doses have been opened to all eligible nationals who have received their second dose in the past five months.

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However, people who received their second dose in the late second half of 2021 are not yet eligible for a booster shot this month and won’t be till the start of February. This can slow down the progress rate of Australia’s booster campaign.

"We do know from evidence from the first two doses that a longer interval between the first dose and second dose gives you higher antibodies, higher protection," says Cyra Patel, a PhD candidate at the Australian National University.

"And that is consistent with our knowledge of immunology as well. We have seen that with other vaccines a longer interval gives you a better boosting effect. It’s really a balance between getting you protection from another dose earlier and giving you better protection if you have a longer interval."

As per the data, majority of the people who have had their second shot five months ago have received their booster shot. Thus indicating that while the booster rate is on track, it is the initial slow pace that has caused a delay in Australia’s timeline.

Experts defend the interval time by stating that the six month interval time is because of the clinical trials. "That’s the time period that the clinical trials use. So we have got clear evidence and that has been reviewed by the TGA and other regulators that definitely at six months you are definitely going to see a boosting effect," Patel said.

(With inputs from agencies)

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