CANBERRA: The Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunization (ATAGI) issued new guidelines today, declaring that only the people who received a booster shot of the COVID-19 vaccine are now considered ‘fully vaccinated’ against coronavirus.
According to a new set of recommendations issued by Australian health officials on Thursday, the third dose of the COVID-19 vaccine will be required for a person in Australia to be regarded as “up to date with vaccination,” against the virus.
“A person is ‘up to date if they have completed all the doses recommended for their age and individual health needs,” Australian Health Minister Greg Hunt said.
All Australian citizens aged over 16 are currently eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine booster shot three months after their primary course is complete. The modified rules suggest that if such a person hasn’t received a booster in six months after their primary course, they will be considered “overdue.”
People under 16 years won’t require booster shots to get the ‘up to date status, with the exception of “severely immunocompromised people aged five years and older.”
The ATAGI’s guidance was approved during a national cabinet meeting on Thursday afternoon. The three-dose recommendation will not be imposed as a mandate nationwide, except for workers in aged care, and will be left up to individual jurisdictions.
COVID-19 cases in Australia continue to decline, with around 24,000 new cases being recorded on average during the past week, compared to a record high of nearly 150,000 daily cases reported in mid-January.
More than 20 million Australians – over 80% of the population – are now fully vaccinated, according to the previous definition of having received at least two doses of the COVID-19 vaccine.