Australia’s vaccine advisory panel could delay a recommendation to expand the Covid booster until a shot better targeting Omicron becomes available. Sub-variants, including BA. 4 and BA. 5, are becoming the dominant Covid-19 strains in Australia. Mr Andrews has been vocal in his push for a fourth shot to be mandated for healthcare workers. But speaking to reporters on Sunday, the Premier indicated a change in tune. “There’s this real dilemma at the moment,” he said. “Do we maybe go to a fourth dose for our health workers – which is something I’ve pushed for, something I’ve spoken to the PM about – or maybe do we wait a little while because there might be an even better vaccine that’s even more effective?” He said that’s why politicians don’t make health decisions, pointing to the work of “great Victorian” Allen Cheng and his work on the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation.“You let the experts work these things through,” Mr Andrews added. It comes after Professor Cheng made similar comments, and indicated the advisory group was eagerly awaiting Moderna’s clinical data on its Omicron containing bivalent booster.Pharmaceutical giant Pfizer is also creating an updated booster, which it said would be better at fending off Omicron.In a statement overnight, chief executive Albert Bourla said the company believed it had “two very strong Omicron-adapted candidates”. A fourth dose is currently available to anyone aged over 65, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders over 50 and Australians under 64 who are immunocompromised.
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