The battle with Covid-19 continues, and the Australian Government Department of Health is doing the needful to safeguard the well-being of people. Meanwhile, we as responsible citizens must adhere to the rules and regulations and ensure to keep ourselves updated with Covid-19 vaccines. For instance, currently, four Covid-19 vaccines have been included in the national vaccine rollout, which is as follows:
- Comirnaty (Pfizer)
- Spikevax (Moderna)
- Nuvaxovid (Novavax)
- Vaxzevria (AstraZeneca)
Classification of Vaccines
The Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) has approved three vaccines:
Recommendations of Vaccinations
Two to three years ago, when we first witnessed the outbreak of Covid-19, widespread misinformation and mass hysteria caused panic. Besides, blogs and websites added fuel to the fire by spreading false information regarding vaccines or cures for the disease. Thankfully, the Government was steadfast in terms of working towards a solution.
Furthermore, ATAGI (Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation) played an instrumental role in providing necessary guidance. Besides, they continue to advise the Government about vaccines’ medical or clinical administration, including Covid-19 vaccines.
Also, they carry out thorough research and recommend specific Covid-19 vaccine use; their advice includes vaccine recommendations according to different age groups. Hence, the Australian Government takes ATAGI’s advice into consideration during the decision-making process of vaccines.
How do the Covid-19 vaccines work?
The vaccines effectively prevent people from becoming seriously sick or encountering conditions that could lead to their deaths. Besides, the vaccines enable the immune system to recognize and eliminate the virus before it causes fatal conditions; the body’s immune system gains strength and establishes a protection level against the disease over a particular period of time.
Besides, the virus ( SARS-CoV-2) that causes Covid-19 has protein spikes on all viral particles; the spike proteins enable the virus to attach to cells, thereby causing the disease. However, to ensure appropriate protection against severe illness or death due to Covid-19, we must stay up-to-date with vaccinations according to age or individual health requirements.
Why are vaccines effective?
The vaccine recognizes spike proteins as deadly viral elements and fights against them to eliminate them from our bodies.
How many doses should we get?
The ATAGI (Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation) has charted down an elaborate vaccine recommendation. According to their recommendation, the vaccine and its doses depend strictly on the age and population group. Moreover, if someone already has had Covid, they must wait three months after the confirmed infection and then get vaccinated.
On the other hand, people with immunocompromised diseases need to check the details of the third dose.
Booster doses details
Medical experts and doctors advise us to keep ourselves updated with all the vaccinations according to our age; also, it is the best way to protect ourselves against the disease. And boosters are a vital vaccine dose that we should administer.
ATAGI recommends an additional fourth or booster dose for people at an increased risk of severe illnesses. Meanwhile, the booster dose technically would be the fifth one for people suffering from immunocompromised diseases. The same goes for people who have a pre-existing medical condition or disability.
One should get a second booster dose if they had their first booster dose three months ago and if they are:
- Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander aged 50 years and above
- 16 years or above with a medical condition that elevates the risk of severe COVID-19 illness
- 16 years or above with a disability
- 50 years or older
- 16 years or above an aged care or disability care facility resident.
- 16 years or older and severely immunocompromised
Meanwhile, people aged 30 to 49 can also get the fourth dose if they want an extra shield of protection. But it is essential for people who had COVID-19 after their first booster to wait for at least three months before they can get the second booster shot.
Also, ATAGI recommends a Covid-19 booster shot for individuals aged between 5 to 15 years:
- If they have been suffering from severely immunocompromised diseases.
- If they have a disability and have significant and complex health requirements.
- If they have severe, complex, or several health conditions that lead to a higher risk of Covid-19.
People can find relevant information about booster doses for children aged 5 to 11 years and adolescents aged 12 to 15 years.
What is the vaccine approval process in Australia?
The Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) conducts a well-organized evaluation process and approves specific vaccines. Furthermore, the Covid-19 vaccines are subject to provisional approval, which relates to vaccine usage according to early access. On the other hand, the vaccine manufacturers continue with the data collection on vaccine safety and efficacy and apply for complete approval later.
Besides, TGA follows a particular procedure of monitoring the safety of vaccines and their side effects.
Where to get accurate vaccine information?
With plenty of fake news and misinformation available online, getting correct information about Covid-19 and vaccines becomes challenging. Therefore, it would be best to depend on official government websites such as:
- State and territory government health departments
- Health professionals such as doctors and pharmacists
- Therapeutic Goods Administration
- Australian Academy of Science
- World Health Organisation
- National Centre for Immunisation Research and Surveillance.