Federal Health Minister Mark Butler has warned a third wave of COVID-19 is on its way and this is truly the sequel (three-quel?) no-one asked for.

Butler said any sheds of immunity from the second wave over summer had waned dramatically and vaccine booster uptake is still, well, terrible.

A number of COVID subvariants have also taken off around the country with BA.4 and BA.5 now dominant in NSW.

Experts have said BA.4 and BA.5 are more transmissible than the previous versions of Omicron that swept the nation because they can evade existing immune responses from both infection and vaccination better. NSW Health said last week these new strains “will likely be associated with an increase in infections.”

These factors combined have created a perfect storm for another spike in cases.

“All of the health authorities do expect there to be a third wave over coming months,” Butler said on ABC RN on Friday morning.

“I think the impact on our hospital system, whether there’s a greater severity, is still not really well-known. We’re still trying to understand this subvariant … But we do need to prepare ourselves for another wave of increased cases.”

Butler said the best approach to preventing or slowing a third COVID wave was to urge people to hurry up and get their third dose — or their fourth if they’re eligible. The longer you delay your necessary boosters, the more susceptible to reinfection you become.

“If you’ve had two doses and even if you’ve had a case of Covid BA.1 you are potentially susceptible to reinfection over coming months,” Butler said on ABC RN on Friday morning.

“Given what we can at least predict is going to happen with this virus mutating and what’s going to happen in the vaccine and treatments market.”

So stop pretending like the pandemic is over you fools, people are still sick and dying every day.

“We’re still dealing with a very serious phase of the pandemic,” Butler said.

Mask up and get your darn booster.

Image: Getty Images / Sam Mooy