If like me, you fast-tracked your second shot of AstraZeneca to get in on the picnic craze, you’ll be wanting to get that booster shot as soon as realistically possible, according to GPs in a new exclusive report by The Age.
When restrictions first began to ease for fully-vaccinated legends in NSW, a majority of us (me included) brought forward our second AstraZeneca appointment to join in on the fun and because it was strongly advised by NSW Health at the time. But, due to the fact that a shorter time span in between doses actually gives us less protection against COVID-19, doctors like NSW Chair of the Royal Australia College of GPs, Dr. Charlotte Hespe, are advising us AstraZene-queens not to wait for our booster shot when it’s finally available to us.
“If you did have your AstraZeneca at a timeframe of less than 12 weeks, please do try and make sure your booster is at six months rather than, perhaps, delaying it until ten months,” she told The Age.
Roughly half of the people in NSW who were vaccinated with AstraZeneca received their second shot before the 12-week-mark. According to data from the Australian Immunisation Register, more than 177,000 received their second dose just four weeks after the first, 247,000 received it six weeks apart, and 140,000 received it in eight. Only 616,000 people in the state received their second shot after the full originally advised 12 week period.
While two doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine dramatically decrease the chance of you being hospitalised or dying from COVID, receiving your second dose four to six weeks after your first leaves you with just 55.1% protection from COVID-19 symptoms. Receiving it within six to eight leaves you with 59.9% while 12 weeks or longer grants you 81.3%.
Sidebar: remember two doses are still better than one here and your best protection against COVID is whichever vaccine is available to you.
Anyway, according to Associate Professor Paul Griffin, if you did receive your two doses six weeks or fewer apart from each other, it’s unlikely you’ll need a booster until six months after you received your second shot. For a lot of us in our 20s, that’s around March after our Hot Vax Summer era.
As of publishing, a third dose of the vaccine – AKA a booster shot – has only been approved for the immunocompromised and those in essential work like healthcare and aged care facilities.
The federal Department of Health is currently waiting on advice from the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) and ATAGI regarding administering booster shots to the general population, and told the outlet they’re expecting to hear from the two medical advisory bodies “in the coming weeks”.
Last week, Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt announced that Australia had acquired two more COVID-19 treatment drugs, on top of the two previously purchased. Earlier this week, Australia officially hit our 70% fully vaccinated target, which also 100% called for a frothy bevy. Here’s what you can and can’t do in NSW and Victoria now that we’ve reached 80% and 70% fully vaccinated targets in each state.Image: Getty Images