A new COVID-19 vaccine that specifically fights against the Omicron variant is on the way for Aussies after the Therapeutic Goods Administration provisionally approved it this week.

The bivalent booster by Moderna is the first of its kind to be approved in Australia and follows the UK’s approval in mid-August. The updated jab will target both the original COVID-19 virus from 2020 and the Omicron BA.1 variant which appeared in late 2021. It also creates a “good immune response” to sub-variants BA.4 and BA.5.

Per The Age, Australia is the third country behind the UK and Switzerland to approve the new vaccine but it’s yet to be seen how it’ll fit into our existing vaccine program. However, it will be in the country soon and will be available as a booster for people over the age of 18.

“Following TGA’s provisional approval, the doses will arrive in the country within weeks – allowing Australia to be among the first countries in the world to have access to this next-generation COVID-19 vaccine,” a Moderna spokesperson told The Age.

The Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (AGATI) is expected to give its advice to the Federal Government on how the new booster vax should roll out in the next few weeks.

Professor Damian Purcell, the head of the molecular virology lab at the Doherty Institute told The Age the new Omicron booster vaccine is an important step in protecting ourselves against the virus.

“The addition of a booster that contains both the original strain and the Omicron variant will broaden the level of protection for all individuals,” he said.

Until we know more about the new Omicron booster, anyone over the age of 30 is eligible for a fourth dose if you choose to have one. Aussies over 16 with a disability, who are severely immunocompromised or have a medical condition that increases the risk of severe COVD-19 illness are also eligible for a fourth booster shot.

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