An alarming number of Australians have little protection against Covid-19 in the lead up to Christmas with latest figures revealing just how long it’s been since people have had a booster jab.
The latest data, up to November 8, reveals that only 1.9m Australians aged 18 and up are considered “recently vaccinated” – or vaccinated within the last six months.
For younger Australians, the take up of a booster dose has stalled. Only 5.5 per cent of of Australians aged 18 to 64 years rolling up their sleeves for a jab.
Just 39 per cent of aged care residents across the country have received a Covid booster in the last six months.
Victoria has the greatest number of residents recently vaccinated, sitting at 42.3 per cent, followed by Western Australia (41.7 per cent), Tasmania (41.4 per cent) and South Australia (40.3 per cent).
The ACT (39 per cent), NSW (37.7 per cent), Queensland (35 per cent) and Northern Territory (33.4 per cent) lag behind.
More than 10,000 Australians reported contracting Covid in the last seven days but the true figure could be much larger as it is no longer a requirement to lodge a positive test with a person’s state.
Opposition health spokesperson Anne Ruston lashed the government for failing to rollout the new Covid vaccinations “as quickly as possible” ahead of the Christmas period.
“With our healthcare system facing escalating challenges, now is not the time for the (Health Minister Mark Butler) to be dragging his feet on signing a brief to protect the Australian people,” she said.
The senator called on the government to immediately rollout an awareness campaign and for the Health Minister to appear publicly alongside the Chief Medical Office to draw attention to the issue.
The Department of Health and Minister Butler’s office have been contacted for comment.
It comes as the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation reportedly met last Friday to consider the new booster jabs, already available in Europe and the United States, which are better targeted to new strains.
The two XBB.1.5 vaccines, named after the variants that have been causing global havoc in recent months, were approved by the Therapeutic Goods Administration in early October.
Originally published as Alarming figure in Covid spike with majority of Aussies choosing not to get a booster shot