Scott Morrison will urge all Australians to step forward with a booster shot to prevent a disastrous fourth wave of COVID-19.
As Australia continues to open up, the grim reality of declining coronavirus immunity is in full swing in Europe, where the number of cases is rising, hospitals are facing being overwhelmed and countries are returning to lockdowns.
The Prime Minister will send a letter to the Australians asking those who had their second jab at least six months ago to reserve themselves for a booster.
“Australia now has one of the lowest per capita cases in the world, and our health response has saved over 30,000 lives,” said the letter, co-signed by Health Minister Greg Hunt and Chief Physician Paul Kelly.
“Thanks to the high vaccination rates, we are now reopening, our economy is strongly re-emerging and people can come back to see the family, travel and live a more normal life.
“An important part of this process is to ensure that every person in Australia has access to vaccine boosters to help maintain the best possible defense against serious illness or death.
“Everyone in Australia is encouraged to take up the vaccine boosters to make sure we can keep each and every one of us safe.”
Along with the letter, an information sheet will be sent allowing family members to indicate the date of each member’s scheduled booster shot.
With more than 151 million extra Pfizer and AstraZeneca shots ordered, boosters are available from GPs and pharmacists.
Appointments can also be made through the Federal Government website.
As vaccination rates continue to rise across the country, the head of the vaccination task force, Lieutenant General John Frewen, said he was surprised at how many Australians had stepped forward.
“People understand how important these vaccines are, not just for their own safety, but for the safety of their friends and families,” he told the Nine’s Today show.
“The boosters are available. The supply problems we faced in the early days do not exist. It will be very easy to get a booster and I urge everyone to do so.
“Be prepared now … Now is the time. Not after you’ve had an outbreak in your communities.”
As of Friday, more than 86 per cent of Australians over 16 are fully vaccinated.
Lieutenant General Frewen said he was preparing for the rollout of vaccinations for children ages 5-11 in the new year.
The Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunization is expected to make a decision within a few weeks, with jabs to begin as soon as January if the program is approved.
Push for boosters comes as many European countries are thrown back into lockdown as the winter months and a fourth wave take hold.