Booster vaccination shots against COVID-19 have already begun for some people at high risk from the virus, and could become available to Australians six months after their second dose.
Lieutenant General John Frewen, leader of the national vaccine taskforce, said booster doses were already being offered to the immunocompromised.
But the government is waiting advice on booster shots from ATAGI, which Frewen expects is on the cusp of making a decision.
“We’ll work the priority groups in the very first instance, aged and disability, front-line health workers, those sorts of areas,” he said.
“But we think what will happen is that as people become eligible from six months, they’ll just be able to go and grab a booster shot.”
He said AstraZeneca would remain available while mRNA vaccines, including Pfizer and Moderna, would be the mainstays of the booster program.
“Pfizer has got the right approvals in place, so they’ll immediately be brought into play once we’ve got the ATAGI advice and then we would hope to see Moderna soon after that,” Frewen said.
It came as the federal government launched a new advertising campaign focusing on hopeful messages on Monday, signalling a return to a more normal, free life was within reach.
Another campaign is focusing on high profile Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians encouraging First Nations communities to get vaccinated.
Frewen said close to 50% of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people were fully vaccinated, while 60% had their first dose.
“There’s hesitancy in some areas. There’s misinformation. There’s complacency. So there’s a range of challenges,” he said.
“But really encouraging over the last fortnight, the first dose rates for Indigenous Australians have exceeded the national first dose rate. So that’s a positive sign and we’re just hoping to keep building on that momentum.”