ATAGI signs off on whole-of-population booster program

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has confirmed Australia's COVID-19 vaccination booster program will begin on November 8.

ATAGI signs off on whole-of-population booster program

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has confirmed Australia's COVID-19 vaccination booster program will begin on November 8.

While it will initially focus on aged care residents and health workers, all vaccinated Australians will be able to get a third jab six months after their second.

"This booster program will obviously have a focus especially on aged care and healthcare workers, but it is an all-population booster program," Mr Morrison said.

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He said Australia had enough vaccines stockpiled to ensure that every Australian who wanted one, would get one.

Vaccine advisory body ATAGI has signed off the plan.

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The Pfizer vaccine will be on offer at pharmacies, and it's expected to be joined by a fourth vaccine, Novavax, which could be soon approved.

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Health Minister Greg Hunt confirmed ATAGI had recommended a whole-of-nation approach.

"Commencing on November 8, the booster will be available on the basis of six-months-plus from your second vaccination," Mr Hunt said.

"The early priority will be a focus on aged care and disability but by definition, we have enough vaccines in the country to vaccinate everybody who comes due, and as your six months pass, then you will be able to be eligible to come forward."

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He said the first aged care boosters would begin today, ahead of the national rollout on November 8.

"If any GPs wish to commence, they are in a position to do that, but we're setting this program to commence more generally across the country," Mr Hunt said.

"I'm also pleased that will be offering Pfizer to all pharmacies in Australia and they can use that for primary and secondary doses or to complete the booster program for people."

Meanwhile, Mr Morrison has revealed that as of today, 75 per cent, three-quarters of the nation, are fully vaccinated.

"That is an extraordinary achievement by Australians all around the country," he said.

"Australians are doing what their part of the deal was, and we are keeping our part of the deal because from Monday, fully vaccinated Australians we will see them being able to travel overseas."

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More than 90 per cent of eligible Victorians have had their first COVID-19 vaccination, as Melbourne enjoys its first weekend out of its sixth lockdown.

Meanwhile, in welcome news for Australian families trying to get home from overseas, Chief Medical Officer Professor Paul Kelly said families would not be separated if their children are not vaccinated.

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Professor Kelly said some jurisdictions, including the UK, had not yet rolled out a two-dose vaccination program for children aged 12 to 17.

Australia requires over-12s to be vaccinated.

"We're not going to be splitting up families," Professor Kelly said.

He said those unvaccinated children would travel above the cap, and the family would be subject to a seven-day home quarantine and extra tests.

Further details will be revealed later today.

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Australia Post issues Christmas deadlines amid huge parcel volume

Australia Post is urging all Australians to send their Christmas gifts and cards by mid-December at the latest as record volumes of parcels threaten delays.

Australia Post issues Christmas deadlines amid huge parcel volume

Australia Post is urging all Australians to send their Christmas gifts and cards by mid-December at the latest as record volumes of parcels threaten to create delays.

The postal service said 2021 has already seen parcel volume records broken, with this year's Christmas expected to be the biggest on record for the nation's couriers and postal workers.

With many state borders still closed and online shopping showing no sign of slowing down, Australia Post is anticipating parcel traffic to be extremely high. The organisation has hired more than 4000 Christmas casuals to cope with demand.

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To ensure Christmas gifts and cards arrive on time, Australia Post has set the following deadlines:

  • All parcels sent via regular post must be sent by Monday, December 13
  • All parcels sent via express post must be sent by Monday, December 20
  • All Christmas cards should be sent by Thursday, December 16

Customers in Perth, Darwin and regional areas are advised to send their gifts and cards even earlier than the recommended deadlines to avoid disappointment.

Those sending Christmas cards overseas are being urged to do so as early as possible as some destinations have cut-offs for receiving mail in time for December 25.

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Australia Post's Executive General Manager of Business and Government, Gary Starr, said the service has been preparing for a bumper Christmas for weeks.

"We're seeing record parcel volumes with more than 5.9 million households shopping online a month — that's more than half of all Australian households, and it's showing no signs of slowing as we head into the online sales season and Christmas," Mr Starr said.

"That is why we've planned ahead with extra air freight capacity, weekend deliveries and recruitment of thousands of new team members to ramp up our delivery services, parcel sorting and customer care, and we'll be delivering right up until Christmas Eve.

"We encourage people to make a note of these important delivery dates, because although we'll deliver items sent after these dates as quickly as we can, they may not arrive until after Christmas."

Source : 9 News More   

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