Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese has thrown his support behind calls for medical regulators to approve a fourth coronavirus vaccine dose for the general population.
Albanese recently said it was a question of “when, rather than whether” more Australians will be allowed to receive a fourth dose, Xinhua news agency reported.
Currently, Australians aged 65 and above and those who are immunocompromised are eligible for a second booster shot.
The Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI) was expected to meet to consider expanding eligibility amid calls to do so.
Albanese told Nine Entertainment radio he has asked the chief medical officer and the Department of Health officials to consider fourth doses and antiviral treatments for COVID-19.
“I know that the authorities including ATAGI are looking at that. I think it’s a question of when rather than whether it will happen. We need to make sure that people continue to keep up their vaccinations,” he said.
“And you’ll recall, I got COVID during the election campaign. It mitigates some of the impact for so many people. So it is important that we recognise that this pandemic is not over.”
Approximately two-thirds of eligible Australians have received a third COVID-19 vaccine dose.
Australia on Wednesday morning reported more than 35,000 new COVID-19 cases and more than 30 deaths.
As of Tuesday afternoon, a total of 8,291,349 cases of COVID-19 have been reported in Australia, including 10,086 deaths, and approximately 268,697 active cases, according to the latest figures from the Department of Health.
There were 3,740 cases being treated in hospitals nationwide on Tuesday, including 123 in intensive care.