Get booster shots, doctors warn, as Australia all but declares COVID-19 dead – The New Daily

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COVID-19, eh? Done and dusted, you might think.
No doubt there will be people labelling today ‘Freedom Friday’ as a number of protective measures are done away with.
Isolation periods for those who test positive for the virus will be reduced from seven days to five.
Masks will no longer be required on domestic flights.
Why not? Daily case numbers are way down from the winter peak – in the thousands, rather than the tens of thousands.
The trend is so encouraging that health ministers and their chief health officers have decided that reporting will no longer happen daily, but weekly.
So we’re all good … or does this messaging enable further complacency?
After all, only a month ago the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners urged ‘‘people in South Australia to step up measures to reduce COVID-19 community transmission and keep people safe’’.
The statement from the RACGP, published August 3, had a begging tone to it: “Please get vaccinated and boosted and wear a mask indoors and where social distancing is difficult, such as at sports games. Have a conversation with your employer to see if working from home is an option while we get through this current surge in case numbers.” Etc.
Who the heck does any of that any more? A week ago, the Victorian government announced work from home recommendations were lifted, and workers were encouraged to return to the office.
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Somewhat lost in all this excitement is a warning from the Immunisation Coalition – a non-profit advocacy group with heavyweights such as epidemiologist Professor Mary-Louise McLaws and infectious disease paediatrician Professor Robert Booy as board members.
The coalition cautioned Australians who haven’t yet had their COVID-19 booster vaccinations ‘‘that although winter may be over, COVID-19 is not’’.
The concern is that only 71.6 per cent of Australians aged 16 years and over have had three or more COVID-19 vaccinations.
Turn that around: Nearly 30 per cent of eligible Australians are not fully vaccinated against COVID-19.
Kim Sampson, CEO of the Immunisation Coalition, said: “In the light of the changing quarantine and mask recommendations – at a time when we are in the footy final season, heading into the spring racing carnival and upcoming school holidays – it’s important Australians don’t delay protecting themselves and their loved ones by being fully vaccinated.”
Paul Griffin, a coalition board member and associate professor of medicine and director of infectious diseases at the University of Queensland, warned: “It’s not possible to predict the next wave of COVID-19, or what strain of COVID-19 it will be. Nor can we predict the scale and severity of future waves of infection.
‘‘If people are complacent and don’t remain up to date, according to current guidelines, thinking the vaccinations they have had are enough, then there’s every chance that they will get infected, probably in the not-too-distant future.’’
Professor Booy, professor of child and adolescent health at the Children’s Hospital at Westmead, said there had been a very large increase in COVID-19 disease in Australia this year – including among children, with more than 80 per cent of deaths overall occurring this year.
There have been nine reported deaths in children aged under five years.
“Vaccine uptake in school children is less than 60 per cent,” Professor Booy said. “Yet COVID-19 disease has been described as a generation-defining disruption to children who have been forced to forgo large amounts of their education.
“Vaccines are available for high-risk children between the ages of six months and five years, and are more widely available for school children in general.”
He urged parents to make COVID-19 booster vaccinations a priority for their children and themselves.
The federal Health Department advises:
It is recommended you have the Pfizer vaccine as a booster if you are:
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