Calls for Covid booster campaign as winter approaches

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Following reports of complacency creeping into the booster rollout, the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP) is calling on the Federal Government to launch a campaign encouraging eligible people to receive their Covid vaccine booster dose.

According to reports as of 13 March 2022, only 65.6% of eligible people have received a third Covid-19 vaccine dose. That number is significantly lower in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities where only 49.4% of eligible people have received the third dose.

“Complacency is a killer, and we need to act now to get more booster doses in arms as quickly as possible,” says RACGP President Dr Karen Price, adding that with winter approaching time is of the essence.

“Winter is fast approaching, and we need to act with urgency. The Federal Government should launch a media campaign encouraging all eligible people to get their booster dose as soon as possible.

“This should include information on why the booster is so important to limit your chance of experiencing serious effects, as well as clarification on when to get your booster after contracting Covid-19. Many people may not realise that you can receive a vaccine dose, including a booster once your isolation period has ended and your symptoms have ceased.

“So once your fever, headache, sore throat, or runny nose has subsided – contact your GP to book in your booster. If you were lucky enough to be asymptomatic, book in as soon as possible. You don’t need to wait several weeks or months to get your booster post-Covid-19,” says Dr Price.

‘Don’t rely on natural immunity’ 

Dr Prices says that the campaign should underscore the fact even if you have “had Covid-19, you still need to get vaccinated and boosted as soon as you are eligible”.

“You should not rely on natural immunity to protect you from reinfection. The experts aren’t completely sure how much protection an initial Covid-19 infection offers but we do know that the booster will provide you with high levels of protection,” says Dr Price.