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10 Feb, 2022 12:25

Country changes definition of ‘fully vaccinated’

Australians who have not received a booster dose against Covid-19 six months after their primary course will be considered “overdue”
Country changes definition of ‘fully vaccinated’

Australian health officials have updated guidance to declare that for a person to be considered “fully vaccinated” against Covid-19, they must have received a booster shot.

The Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI) issued the new set of recommendations on Thursday, saying a third dose will be required for a person to be regarded as “up to date with vaccination,” against the virus.

“A person is ‘up to date’ if they have completed all the doses recommended for their age and individual health needs,” Australian Health Minister Greg Hunt said, as cited by ABC News.

All Australian citizens aged over 16 are currently eligible for a booster shot three months after their primary course is complete. The modified rules suggest that if such a person hasn't received a booster in six months after their primary course, they will be considered “overdue.” 

People under 16 years won’t require booster shots to get the ‘up to date’ status, with the exception of “severely immunocompromised people aged five years and older.”

The ATAGI’s guidance was approved during a national cabinet meeting on Thursday afternoon. The three-dose recommendation will not be imposed as a mandate nationwide, except for workers in aged care, and will be left up to individual jurisdictions.

International travelers won’t be affected by the new rules.

Covid-19 cases in Australia continue to decline, with only around 24,000 new cases being recorded on average during the past week, compared to a record high of nearly 150,000 daily cases reported in mid-January. 

More than 20 million Australians – over 80% of the population – are now fully vaccinated, according to the usual definition of having received at least two doses.

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