COVID-19 booster shots are crucial in places like Canberra where there have been low infection rates | Canberra Times

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Canberra risks a third significant COVID-19 outbreak unless there is a strong uptake of booster shots, new research has suggested. Research has found places where infection rates were low will depend on booster shots to prevent further waves as there are low levels of herd immunity. This will be crucial for ACT as protection against the vaccine decreases. Less than 0.5 percent of the territory’s population has been infected with the virus. Research, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, showed that Pfizer vaccines provided at least 90 percent protection against severe COVID-19 cases for at least six months. However, six months after the second dose of Pfizer, the vaccine provided less than 20 percent protection against milder infections of the virus. The co-author of the research, epidemiologist and medical director of the Aspen Medical Group Andrew Jeremijenko, said that further research had also suggested booster shots would be crucial in communities like Canberra where there had been low levels of infection. “We do not have the high natural infection rates, so if we do not make booster shots, we have a greater risk of rebellion,” said Dr. Jeremijenko. “If we do not implement booster shots because we do not have a high natural immunity, we will have higher infection rates, so this is where booster shots are so important.” The ACT government opened bookings for its booster-shot program on Monday, where people who received the vaccine at least six months ago were eligible for their top-up. A majority of the territory’s population will not be eligible for the booster shot until 2022. Deputy Chief Health Officer Vanessa Johnston said the booster shot was incredibly important to ensure long-term immunity. “I think there is still a lot of new evidence internationally and here nationally about the shock in immunity that will give us,” she said. “In the long run, we are still a little uncertain about how regularly these vaccines should be administered, whether it is annually or not.” The frequency of cases has been lower, so we have not had the natural immunity so much and we know that the immunity from the vaccine is very protective. “Dr. Jeremijenko compared Australia’s possible experience with Israel, which had an increase in cases six months after its vaccination program started.Israel had compared to lower levels of infection and when vaccine protection fell there was a third wave.Booster shots were rolled out to combat this.But for the fully vaccinated who were infected had less serious infections and there were a lower death rate.Dr Jeremijenko, who has researched the case, said the experience had been different in Qatar, where there had been a higher infection rate during the initial wave.After its vaccination program, there was not a major resurgence of cases. “Israel is closer to Austral ia than Qatar. Qatar did not have it flared up because it already had a lot of natural immunity plus vaccination, “he said,” Natural infection plus vaccination is even better than just vaccination alone … that’s really what a booster shot does, it prevents you in having a natural infection. “MORE COVID-19 NEWS: The ACT government has expressed concern that the recording of booster shots may lag. Research commissioned by the government showed that part of the population had received the shock reluctantly, and Targeted campaigns may be needed to ensure this group will step forward with booster shots. Health Minister Rachel Stephen-Smith said this reluctance was unlikely to be seen in the people eligible for booster shots at present. “My suspicion is that the people, especially older people who got their first two shots of AstraZeneca, will be very excited to also get an mRNA vaccine booster, just to really increase their protection against the worst outcomes ld from COVID-1 9, “she said. “I suspect our healthcare professionals, who were obviously very early in the rollout, will also be excited to get their booster shots.” “There may be some other people who are just waiting and seeing and considering themselves to be fully vaccinated.” I think it’s a little hard to say at this point how much enthusiasm we are going to see for the boosters. “Our journalists work hard to provide local, up-to-date news to the community. Here’s how you can continue to access our trusted content:

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