Mon. May 23rd, 2022

However, when it comes to rolling out the booster-shot program, Federal Health Secretary Greg Hunt said supply has not been an issue and that the booster program is “actually far ahead of schedule.”

Health Secretary Greg Hunt.
A spokesman for Federal Health Secretary Greg Hunt said more than half of the eligible population has received their booster shots. (Alex Ellinghausen)

But people who are eligible for their boosters will not be offended.

Four months ago, on 20 September, 9,690,933 Australians had received their second dose of one Vaccine against covid-19.

But only 5,798,370 of these people have now received their third shot, leaving a gap of about four million eligible people without a booster.

Epidemiologist Dr. Katrina Roper from Australian National University said there are several factors that could contribute to the gap.

“First of all, it’s holidays … People are probably catching up on the lost time in terms of catching up with friends and family who are going on vacation,” said Dr. Roper.

Reasons why some eligible individuals may not have received their booster shots
People who are on vacation may be among the reasons why some eligible people may not have received their booster shots. (Getty)

“They probably do not get the booster because they are busy doing holiday things and they do not want to bother themselves.

“It’s not the best excuse, but it’s understandable because we’ve had a couple of very unusual years.”

The second reason that may be the cause of the millions of eligible people not being boosted, said Dr. Shouts, could be that eligible individuals themselves may be COVID-positive cases that are currently symptomatic or in isolation.

“Case numbers at the moment are very high, and so probably a lot of people will get caught up in it,” said Dr. Roper.

She added that it is important for these people not to forget to reschedule their booster appointment so that when they are out of isolation and not symptomatic, they can get the shock.

“Another reason could be that there has been a little bit of confusion around it,” said Dr. Roper.

“Only back in early December was the ATAGI council about six months for the boosters, and it came down to five months. Now it’s four months.”

The nation's GPs and pharmacists will receive an additional 180,000 booster doses in the first week of January to keep up with rising demand.
Confusion about time intervals for booster shots may be another reason for the delay. (AP)

Australia’s Chief Medical Officer, Professor Paul Kelly, has also pointed to time frames as a contributing factor to booster consumption.

He said the “booster program is relatively new”, resulting in people only being eligible until “quite recently”.

Victoria, New South Wales and South Australia have now reduced the third-dose vaccine interval to three months.

“Some people may not have gotten that message. They may still be thinking, oh, it’s six months. It’s not,” said Dr. Roper.

Navodhya Kumaravithana said she experienced some of this confusion.

The 25-year-old, who was eager to get her booster shot, thought she could get her sting at 16 weeks.

But Ms Kumaravithana said she received a call from her pharmacy on the day and said she was not entitled.

“They called me and said I could not actually get it because it had not been for several months even though 16 weeks had passed,” Ms Kumaravithana said.

Navodhya Kumaravithana said she has to wait another two weeks until she can get her booster shot.
Navodhya Kumaravithana said she has to wait another two weeks until she can get her booster shot. (Navodhya Kumaravithana)

“So, then I had to cancel and try to find another reservation, which was difficult because a lot of the seats were taken.”

A fourth reason for the booster gap said Dr. Shouts could just be “vaccine fatigue”.

“People may be just a little over getting stung,” she said.

NSW Chief Health Officer Dr. However, Kerry Chant has stressed the importance of the third dose.

“There needs to be a sense of urgency to embrace the booster doses,” she said Tuesday.

Coles Eastgardens

How Australia faced the emergence of the Omicron variant

“For Omicron, we know protection is lower and we need the next boost.”

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