COVID-19

National cabinet approves Pfizer booster dose for 16-17-year-olds

ATAGI has approved the Pfizer booster dose for 16-17 year olds as well as announced that Australia has passed the Omicron peak.

National Health Minister Greg Hunt addressed the Australian public with a national Covid-19 update.

Mr Hunt began by discussing ATAGI’s decision this morning to allow 16 and 17-year-olds to get the booster jab, three months after their second vaccine dose.

“What that means is they will be an immediate group of 380,000 teenagers who will be eligible to have the booster, this is the Pfizer booster that has been through both the TGA and other technical advisory group immunisation,” said Minister Hunt.

We encourage and urge all of our teenagers and all of our families to consider.”

We know that two doses of a COVID-19 vaccine provides very good protection, especially against severe disease.

A booster dose will make sure the protection from the first two doses is even stronger and longer-lasting, helping prevent the virus from spreading and new variants from emerging.

The provision of booster doses for sixteen and seventeen-year-olds will provide further protection and peace of mind for children and their parents.

Australia was one of the first countries in the world to commence a whole population COVID-19 booster program.

Over 7.1 million Australians have already received a booster dose over recent weeks.

Chief Medical Officer Paul Kelly reiterated the importance of younger Australians receiving their boosters to curb community spread. 

“It is good to see now that we can join them to that adult rollout of the booster program. Essentially that older age group of teenagers, the Covid acts in a similar way to young adults up to in the 20s and 30s. It makes sense for them to get the booster for their own protection,” Mr Kelly said.

“More importantly, definitely, as part of our transmission wall, to decrease the transmission in the community, we know that 16-17 -year-olds and young adults have more friends and social interactions and have a higher chance of transmitting throughout the community.”

The Chief Health Officer continued by stating that while Covid-19 is unlikely to be life-threatening for teenagers, they are more likely to transmit the disease due to their sociability.

“Younger Australians are more social and have a higher chance of spreading it, so with Omicron also being more virilant, we know that the benefit outweighs the risk, so I recommend that 16 and 17 year old get the booster as soon as possible,” said Mr Kelly.

Kelly says Australia is now “past the peak” of the Omicron wave, but warned a second wave is imminent.

“We are past the peak in Australia in terms of the Omicron wave. It will not be the last Omicron way we will have and it will not be the last wave of Covid we will have.

“We are learning to live with this virus, and that means that we have to have realistic expectations of what will happen this year, and probably subsequent years in terms of Covid circulating in the community.

” It won’t be the last wave of Covid or Omicron so we need realistic expectations about what will happen this year and in subsequent years. I do believe we’ve have another wave in Winter, and a flu wave in Winter for the first time since early 2020.”

“These form part of our preparations at the moment. This is forming my advice to the government as we learn to live with covid. In terms of deaths and hospitalisations, both of which have dropped substation ally national in the last week.”

In terms of deaths and hospitalisations, both have dropped substantially nationally in the last week.

“The death rate for Omicron is .1%, which means 99% survive,” said Chief Health Officer Paul Kelly.

Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP) President Dr Karen Price said today’s announcement was “another positive step forward in the vaccine rollout.”

“This latest booster announcement for adolescents 16- to 17-year-olds is great news.”

Over 93.1 per cent of Australians, aged 16 and over have completed their primary course of vaccination.

All Australians who are currently eligible for their primary course of vaccination, or for their booster dose, and who have not yet acted are urged to make a booking as soon as possible to get vaccinated.

The Australian Government has secured more than 151 million booster doses for delivery over the coming year and is well placed to continue to achieve world-leading vaccination rates against COVID-19.

To book a booster dose please use the COVID-19 Clinic Finder and make your appointment.

You may not always receive a call, SMS or email from SA Health.

You must follow the relevant health advice even if you have not been contacted.

If you have any COVID-19 symptoms, no matter how mild, please seek testing as soon as possible.

For more information on health advice and requirements for households, visit www.sahealth.sa.gov.au/COVIDcontacttracing.

Find your nearest testing site at www.sahealth.sa.gov.au/COVIDtesting

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