The Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI) has updated its advice on booster shots as expected after weeks of lobbying by some state premiers.
Any Australian who is 16 or older will be required to keep their Covid vaccination schedule ‘up to date’ to be considered ‘fully vaccinated’. Currently, this will mean three shots of an approved vaccination.
Six months after the second dose, a person’s vaccination will be considered ‘out of date’. ATAGI’s recommendation does not apply to children, who will continue to be considered fully vaccinated after two doses.
This matters for those states still using the definition of ‘fully vaccinated’ for vaccine passports systems, such as Victoria, where people will be required to go and get a booster shot if they want to be able to access most parts of the economy.
National Cabinet met to discuss the issue and have agreed to update the mandatory vaccination regulation to three doses only for Aged Care (at this point in time).
The Prime Ministers, premiers, and chief ministers were unable to come to an agreement on the scope so, as predicted earlier in the week and following statements by the Prime Minister, international travellers will still only require two doses to enter Australia as ‘fully vaccinated’.
Tourists with two doses could be left in the lurch, as there is yet no guarantee that they will be allowed to enter into states with triple dose mandates.
State premiers and chief ministers have already expressed their intention to update their mandatory vaccination regulations across a wide range of industries. This will means that hundreds of thousands of workers will be required to get a booster shot if they want to keep their jobs.
The Northern Territory, for example, declared its intention to require booster shots by March 11, 2022 back in January. “All workers under the mandatory vaccination direction will be required to have a booster dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. This will be done in two phases and applies to all people aged 18 years and over. Workers in high risk settings will be required to have their booster dose of the COVID-19 vaccine by 11 march 2022,” states their official health website. The deadline for all workers is Friday 22 April, 2022.
Daniel Andrews, Premier of Victoria, has announced that he will give workers is certain essential industries four weeks to go and get their booster shot representing a one month extension to an earlier deadline. The Premier has also threatened to update the vaccine passport system to include booster shots, which will mean that people must seek out a booster shot to continue to access restaurants, bars, shops, pubs, and stadiums.