Eight months after vaccination began in Europe and North America, the Australian federal government has finally made the Pfizer vaccine available for (some) 20-39 year-olds. Prompted by the Sydney outbreak, it seems that suddenly there is a rush.
Meanwhile, residents of the Northern Hemisphere are by and large enjoying a vaccinated summer break. It’s all thanks to vaccines and the two-thirds of adults who showed up to get their shot.
Which Countries are Giving Covid Vaccine Booster Shots?
Behind the scenes, governments and health authorities are making plans for the coming winter. Early indications are that a key element of the strategy will be targeted Covid-19 booster shots.
The UK leads the way, with an ambition to give 30 million people a booster shot before winter. According to the BBC, it is likely that everyone over 50 and anyone normally recommended for a flu shot will be eligible.
Germany is also planning to give mRNA vaccine booster shots to vulnerable groups. A draft resolution seen by AFP suggested the program may begin from 1 September, as vaccine capacity is now under-utilised because of vaccine-hesitant and outright anti-vaccine attitudes. Schools may also start offering the vaccine to students.
Israel, with its advance vaccine access, has just started giving over-50s their third dose. Early data suggest it may be that 40,000 people have been vaccinated per day since the booster became available.
Criticisms of Covid Vaccine Booster Programs
A UK parliamentary committee heard that the booster regime was not necessary. “The time we would need to boost is if we see evidence that there was an increase in hospitalisation,” said Professor Andrew Pollard. “And that is not something we are seeing at the moment.”
Prof Pollard suggests vaccines may still be effective for decades. He also pointed out that herd immunity and elimination of SARS-CoV-2 is unlikely, given that some vaccinated individuals do still get sick and spread the disease.
And of course, there is a certain perversity in First World citizens getting triple protection while much of the world still can’t get a single vaccine. It may also turn out to be short-sighted of First World governments, if the virus continues to mutate as it spreads around the world.
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