Karl Stefanovic says he’s fed up with new Covid-19 jabs and voiced his concerns about vaccine complications after another booster shot was made available to millions of Aussies.
All Australian adults will be eligible to receive another Covid booster jab from February 20 after the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI) updated its advice on Wednesday morning.
That means people aged 30 and older are eligible for a fifth vaccination while those aged 18-29 can choose to receive a fourth jab.
ATAGI particularly recommends people at risk of severe illness – those aged over 65 and younger adults who have medical comorbidities, disability or complex health needs – get a booster dose in 2023.
It’s recommended that any booster dose be given at least six months after the most recent Covid jab or infection.
Following the ATAGI update, Stefanovic declared he is ‘done’ with Covid vaccines, with top doctor and medical commentator Nick Coatsworth also questioning when ‘ongoing boosters’ would end.
Stefanovic also expressed concern about potential health effects of the jab over contracting the virus itself.
Millions of Australians will be eligible to get a fifth Covid jab from February 20
‘As you know, I’m not a glowing ambassador for more than two shots,’ The Today Show host said.
‘I’ve had Covid a couple of times and I’m done with the vaccine.
‘There’s a big chunk of Australia that is done and there’s another chunk that is happy to keep having them.
‘Is it capable of fighting new strains, this vaccine?’
Dr Coatsworth conceded a fifth jab would only provide enhanced protection for 8-12 weeks.
‘It is a very transient protection, it’s not protection for life,’ he said.
‘That’s the problem with these boosters and eventually we will have to stop with these recommendations for ongoing boosters.’
Stefanovic also voiced concerns about potential health complications surrounding the vaccine.
Karl Stefanovic says he’s ‘done’ with the Covid jab and is more concerned about potential complications from the vaccine
‘The other thing that I am concerned about, if I have another dose, that I may get complications,’ he said.
‘I have seen all those reports on the internet about fit and healthy people just dropping down with heart issues and it’s still not obviously established yet whether or not the vaccine causes some of the heart issues.
‘So that’s a worry for me, more so than getting Covid.’
Dr Coatsworth admitted complications were possible but said the vaccine is safe.
‘I don’t think that there are hundreds of heart deaths swept under the carpet,’ he said.
‘There are complications but we know what they are.’
Stefanovic also spoke on behalf of older relatives who were still ‘incredibly nervous’ about getting the virus.
‘That is such a problem, Karl, because they needn’t be,’ Dr Coatsworth replied.
‘If you are a relatively healthy over-60-year-old and you are living at home and you’re independent and you have had your doses of vaccine, then the likelihood of you going to hospital with Covid is extraordinary small,’ he said.
Nick Coatsworth conceded a fifth jab would only provided enhanced protection for 8-12 weeks
The fifth jab was previously only available for severely immunocompromised Australians.
‘From February 20, all adults who haven’t had a booster or an infection in the past six months can go out and get a booster shot, to give them additional protection against severe illness from Covid,’ Health Minister Mark Butler said in a statement.
‘If you’re 65 or over, or you’re an adult at risk of severe Covid illness, and it’s been six months since your last booster or infection, it’s now time for a booster.’
A new booster will not be offered to those under the age of 18, except children aged 5 to 17 who have health issues that put them at risk of severe illness.
Those who haven’t had Covid or a booster in the last six months can get another jab. Pictured is Olympic swimmer Cate Campbell getting a jab before the Tokyo Olympics
It comes weeks after the Albanese government insisted a third booster would not be necessary after ATAGI initially recommended against getting a fifth vaccine dose.
In November, ATAGI noted that severe disease and death during a recent wave of the virus in Singapore was very rare for people who had had at least two doses of a Covid shot.
Around 72 per cent of eligible Australians have received three doses while 5.4million have returned for a fourth.
The new booster will be welcomed by medical experts who have been calling for another jab to be delivered at the same times as the flu vaccine in April and May, before the virus is expected to be at its infection peak.
Professor Robert Booy, an infectious diseases expert at the University of Sydney, said the effectiveness of the last booster shot the elderly and immunocompromised received six months ago would now be ‘wearing off’.
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