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Vaccine booster program officially rolls out across Australia from Monday

Australia’s booster shot program officially commences across the country today, with fully vaccinated adults aged over 18 who had their second shot six months ago rolling up their sleeves once again.

Aged care and disability facilities residents and staff will be among the first to get their latest shot, with more than 173,000 boosters already administered in the last week and a half.

Health Minister Greg Hunt said Australia was now one of the first countries in the world, after Israel, to commence the booster program.

“[The optimum time] is six months,” Hunt told the Today Show.

“Six months elapse and then you have your booster, and there is no global view yet as to whether a fourth or an annual vaccine will be required.

“The epidemiology and history still has to be determine on that.

“A third dose significantly adds to the already very strong protection that we have.”

Hunt told Sunrise the booster would offer additional protection.

“It helps limit the risk of getting the disease, of passing on the disease, and most importantly, of people becoming very ill, needing hospitalisation or potentially losing their life,” he said.

The official commencement of the booster shot program comes after Australia passed the 80 per cent double-dose milestone on Saturday, with four out of five Australians aged over 16 now fully vaccinated.

Hunt said within the next two weeks, more than 90 per cent of Australians would have had their first dose.

But, Australia is unlikely to start vaccinating children aged 5-11 just yet, despite the program commencing in the United States.

“Right now it goes through the TGA – the medical regulator, and then through ATAGI the vaccine advisers,” he told Sunrise.

“The critical thing is a full and thorough assessment. Our kids are far less likely to get, or in particular to have serious complications.

“We want to make that vaccine available and we will be able to do that as soon as the medical regulators approve it, if they approve it.”

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