A new Omicron-specific vaccine will be available in Australia from October 10 as the government tries to secure as many third and fourth doses for folks as possible.There are some cool new upgrades to this vaccine so let’s jump right in with the facts!

The Spikevax bivalent vaccine is made by Moderna and is specifically designed to protect against the original Omicron BA.1 sub-variant. However, it also offers protection against more recent Omicron sub-variants.

The vaccine was approved for rollout by the federal government in September after a recommendation from the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI).

Who should get the new vaccine?

Anyone over the age of 18 who wants a third or fourth dose will be able to receive the new vaccine from October 10 as per the Department of Health.

This is especially fab news for young folks as we approach festival season. That is, provided La Niña doesn’t rain everything out.

Associate Professor at University of Queensland’s faculty of medicine Paul Griffin told SBS News this new vaccine “has been shown to give better protection against Omicron, including later Omicron subvariants BA.4 and BA.5 that have caused the recent waves in Australia”.

Okay, I like it. Picasso.

Is COVID over?

Many restrictions have indeed been eased by state and federal governments over the past few months.

However, rates of infection in Australia are still bubbling away, albeit at lower levels than previously seen.

Vaccination rates could also do with a “boost” (sorry).

As of October 5, 72.2% of Aussies aged 16 and over had copped a third dose as per the Department of Health.

Meanwhile only 4,900,399 million Aussies have received a fourth dose but don’t stress, this isn’t as bad as it sounds!

This relatively low number is mainly due to the government prioritising the over-30 age group and folks whose health is more at risk from a potential infection.

But now we’ve been given the all-clear for a fourth, we’re on!

How do I book the new vaccine?

If you’re keen to jump on board the vax train, the federal government has created this Clinic Finder portal.

All you need to do is enter the vaccine you’d like (“Moderna Bivalent” is the one we’ve been discussing), enter your postcode and Bob’s your uncle.

There are still many immunocompromised or otherwise vulnerable folks out there who I’m sure would deeply appreciate everyone else rolling up their sleeve for another round.

Happy jabbing, team!

Remember to get yourself a treat afterwards. You earned it.

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