Tuesday, 21 Mar 2023

Nearly a fifth of Australias Covid vaccine stock binned amid warning of fresh wave of cases

Nearly a fifth of Australias Covid vaccine stock binned amid warning of fresh wave of cases


Nearly a fifth of Australias Covid vaccine stock binned amid warning of fresh wave of cases

Australia binned almost 20% of its national Covid vaccine supply last month while leading epidemiologists and doctors have warned the country will face another wave of cases in November when existing immunity wanes.

Millions more vaccines are due to arrive in Australia before the end of the year, with the first Omicron-specific version of the Moderna shot becoming publicly available on Monday.

But a steady supply of the vaccine is being met with dwindling demand, with the country wasting 17.6% of the national stockpile in September.

After a slow start getting the vaccines into the country, there is now a lag in getting boosters into arms. More than 95% of eligible Australians have had two doses of a Covid vaccine since the rollout began in February last year, while 72% have received a third shot and only 40% a fourth.

Gaps in immunisation are leaving Australia open for a new wave of cases in November, modelling from the University of South Australia suggests.

It would unlikely be as high as the peak from the BA.5 Omicron strain, but the slow booster rollout would lead to an increase in hospitalisations, he said.

The BA.4/BA.5 subvariants of Omicron are still the dominant strains across the country but there are concerns new variants will be more transmissible.

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