Two new Covid vaccines will become available in Australia soon with proven success at fighting off new strains of the virus.
The Pfizer and Moderna XBB1.5 vaccines were approved by the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI) and on Monday, this advice was accepted by the federal government.
The decision comes as alarming new data revealed only 1.9 million Australian adults have received a Covid vaccination in the six months to November 8.
For younger Australians, the take up of a booster dose has stalled. Only 5.5 per cent of of Australians aged 18 to 64 years rolling up their sleeves for a jab.
The new monovalent XBB 1.5 vaccines will become available on December 11 and are available now for order by eligible providers.
They have been found to provide modest improved protection against viral strains currently circulating in the community.
Pfizer’s vaccine will be available for use in eligible people aged 5 years and older, while the Moderna vaccine can be used for those aged 12 years and older.
Just 39 per cent of aged care residents across the country have received a Covid booster in the last six months.
Victoria has the greatest number of residents recently vaccinated, sitting at 42.3 per cent, followed by Western Australia (41.7 per cent), Tasmania (41.4 per cent) and South Australia (40.3 per cent).
The ACT (39 per cent), NSW (37.7 per cent), Queensland (35 per cent) and Northern Territory (33.4 per cent) lag behind.
More than 10,000 Australians reported contracting Covid in the last seven days but the true figure could be much larger as it is no longer a requirement to lodge a positive test with a person’s state.
Opposition health spokesperson Anne Ruston lashed the government for failing to rollout the new Covid vaccinations “as quickly as possible” ahead of the Christmas period.
“With our healthcare system facing escalating challenges, now is not the time for the (Health Minister Mark Butler) to be dragging his feet on signing a brief to protect the Australian people,” she said.
The senator called on the government to immediately rollout an awareness campaign and for the Health Minister to appear publicly alongside the Chief Medical Office to draw attention to the issue.