Australians warned of looming Covid waves, encouraged to take booster dose

by IANS |

Canberra, March 31 (IANS) Australia's top doctor has warned the country to prepare for new waves of Covid-19 in the lead-up to winter.

Chief Medical Officer (CMO) Paul Kelly and Minister for Health and Aged Care, Mark Butler, said the government on April 2 will begin rolling out the new Covid-19 ad campaign to reinforce the importance and the value of vaccination, reports Xinhua news agency.

It comes off the back of the advice from the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunization for an additional Covid-19 booster dose for 2023.

"If it's been more than six months since you were infected, or six months since you had your last dose of Covid vaccine, you are now able to go out and get an additional dose whether it's your third, fourth or fifth dose to top up your protection," said Butler in a press conference on Thursday.

Kelly said that increasing coverage of booster vaccines was critical before predicted new waves of infections hit Australia through the colder months of the year.

According to Department of Health data, 1 million Australians have received their 2023 booster doses since they were made available in early February.

A new government report on Australia's fourth wave of the Covid-19 virus' variant Omicron, which ended in February, said it was less severe than previous peaks but lasted for longer.

"This was the first wave that we've had more than one circulating virus, and that so called soup of viruses was new, and it makes it actually more difficult to predict what is going to happen in the next wave or in the timing of the next wave," Kelly told reporters.

"We will see more waves, as the Minister mentioned, we have seen a very slight increase over the last few weeks, but certainly much less than what we were seeing during summer."

In its weekly report updated on Friday, Department of Health said over the last week, 26,301 cases of Covid-19 were reported across Australia, an average of 3,757 cases per day.

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