From next Monday, Australians aged 30 and over will be eligible for a fourth dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.
The Australian Immunization Technical Advisory Group (ATAGI) yesterday specifically recommended the vaccine for people over 50and say people aged 30 to 49 could choose to receive a fourth dose.
So how and where can you book your fourth vaccine? Here’s what you need to know to roll up your sleeves.
Where can I get my fourth dose?
You can get it at:
- A participating general practitioner
- A participating pharmacy
- The accessible and sensory vaccination clinic — for people who may need additional support to get vaccinated
Health Minister Mark Butler said there was nearly 10,000 primary care points, pharmacies and medical practices where Australians could pick up their fourth dose.
“We have a lot of capacity in the system,” he said.
“They’re operating at a much lower level of activity than when vaccinations peaked last year, around 80% less, so there’s a lot of capacity in the system.
Butler also said there were “more than enough” vaccines to meet the public’s needs.
“There are a lot of vaccines in the system to allow people to catch up on those booster doses that I said they were overdue, as well as their third dose or even their fourth dose if they are over 65 .”
How do I make an appointment for a vaccine?
COVID-19 clinic search
You can find your nearest participating GP or pharmacy using the government’s national vaccination clinic search engine, COVID-19 Clinic Finder.
After entering your zip code, you will see a list of clinics in your area, where you have the option to filter by “the closest” Where “soonest available”.
After that, you can proceed with your online reservation.
Easy access to vaccines (EVA)
If you need help making a reservation, you can use EVA, a callback service available daily from 7am to 10pm (AEST).
All you have to do is text “Hey EVA” to the number.
You will receive a response asking for your contact information, such as your name and the preferred date and time for a callback.
A trained operator from the National Coronavirus Helpline will call you at the scheduled time to help you book your vaccination.
How long do I have to wait for my fourth injection after my last dose?
But if you’ve had COVID-19 since you got your booster, you should wait three months after getting the infection.
Shortages of GPs causing long waits for appointments
ATAGI’s recommendation to expand eligibility for the fourth dose came with a clear message: the pandemic is not over and Australians should prepare for a winter of rising COVID-19 infections.
Although Mr Butler said the healthcare system has “a lot of capacity”, a shortage of doctors coupled with an increase in infections is leading to significant wait times.
Bruce Willett of the Royal Australian College of GPs said there was no doubt GPs were in high demand.
“Normally, the flu peaks as a late winter phenomenon,” Dr. Willett said.
“On top of that, we’re seeing record numbers of COVID and we’re seeing a whole host of other viruses like RSV.
The situation is likely to get worse.
A Deloitte report published in May this year shows that the demand for general practitioners will increase by almost 40% over the next decade – almost 50% in cities.
Experts warn that a rise in infections across all states is likely to put pressure on Australian hospitals in the coming weeks.
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