Popular Australian TV identity Karl Stefanovic, who appeared in marketing for Australia's vaccination campaign, says he's "done with Covid vaccines".
The Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunization (ATAGI) updated its advice on the new Covid-19 booster jabs on Wednesday, February 8th, making it available for all adult Australians. The fifth jab will be available for those over the age of 30, while the fourth jab is recommended for those between the ages of 18 to 29.
The booster jabs are recommended to be given at least six months after the previous Covid jab or infection, and are specifically recommended for those at risk of severe illness, including those over 65 and younger adults with comorbidities, disability, or complex health needs.
Stefanovic, the host of The Today Show, voiced his concerns about the vaccine, declaring that he is "done." Stefanovic expressed concern about potential health effects of the jab and questioned the need for "ongoing boosters."
Top doctor and medical commentator Nick Coatsworth also questioned the need for booster jabs, acknowledging that a fifth jab will only provide enhanced protection for 8-12 weeks. However, Dr. Coatsworth admitted that while complications are possible, the vaccine is considered "safe".
In a statement, Health Minister Mark Butler stated that from February 20th, "all adults who haven't had a booster or an infection in the past six months can go out and get a booster shot, to give them additional protection against severe illness from Covid." The fifth jab was previously only available for severely immunocompromised Australians.
Stefanovic also spoke on behalf of older relatives who are still nervous about getting the virus. Dr. Coatsworth reassured that if a person is a relatively healthy over-60-year-old who has had their doses of vaccine, the likelihood of going to the hospital with Covid is extremely small. However, a booster will not be offered to those under the age of 18, except for children aged 5 to 17 who have health issues that put them at risk of severe illness.