Australia shortens booster wait as Omicron explosion turns holidays into chaos

Author of the article: SYDNEY — Australia on Friday narrowed the wait time for people to receive COVID-19 booster shots as another record jump in daily infections resulted in canceled flights and sent Christmas travel plans into disarray. From Jan. 4, the country would offer booster shots to every person aged over 18 who had…
Australia shortens booster wait as Omicron explosion turns holidays into chaos

Author of the article:

SYDNEY — Australia on Friday narrowed the wait time for people to receive COVID-19 booster shots as another record jump in daily infections resulted in canceled flights and sent Christmas travel plans into disarray.

From Jan. 4, the country would offer booster shots to every person aged over 18 who had their second shot four months earlier and the interval would be again reduced to three months by the end of the month, said federal Health Minister Greg Hunt.

“These dates have been set out of an abundance of caution to give Australians early continued protection,” Hunt told reporters in Canberra.

Most states had been pressing the federal government to make more people eligible for boosters to stem the tide of Omicron cases, which reached 9,100 on Friday, up from the previous day’s record of 8,200. While most new cases were previously in New South Wales and Victoria states, neighboring Queensland and South Australia clocked sharp increases.

Media reported thousands of people planning to travel interstate for Christmas the following day had their plans thrown into chaos as airlines canceled or postponed flights due to frontline staff being forced to isolate due to possible exposures to the virus.

Sydney Airport, the country’s busiest, canceled 80 of its 500 domestic flights on Friday, a spokesperson told Reuters, without giving a reason.

Australia has been looking to ramp up the rollout of boosters after becoming one of the world’s most-vaccinated countries against COVID-19, with more than 90% of people over the age of 16 having received two doses.

A growing number of countries are reducing the wait time https://www.reuters.com/business/healthcare-pharmaceuticals/omicron-threatens-global-surge-some-countries-shorten-covid-19-booster-timelines-2021-12-20 for boosters from six months after the emergence of the Omicron variant. This month, South Korea, Britain and Thailand cut that interval to three months.

Despite record cases, the Australians hope the hospitals will not come under extreme pressure from the new strain, which they say appears to be less severe than other variants.

The number of people admitted in hospitals is rising steadily, but remains far lower than during the Delta outbreaks. Just over 4% of patients in hospitals have been infected with Omicron as of Dec. 20, with only one in intensive care.

The World Health Organization earlier this month warned wealthy countries against hoarding COVID-19 vaccines for booster shots as they try to fight off the new Omicron variant, saying it threatened supplies for poorer countries where inoculation rates are still low. (Reporting by Renju Jose and Byron Kaye in Sydney; Editing by Chris Reese and Aurora Ellis)

Financial Post Top Stories

Sign up to receive the daily top stories from the Financial Post, a division of Postmedia Network Inc.

By clicking on the sign up button you consent to receive the above newsletter from Postmedia Network Inc. You may unsubscribe any time by clicking on the unsubscribe link at the bottom of our emails. Postmedia Network Inc. | 365 Bloor Street East, Toronto, Ontario, M4W 3L4 | 416-383-2300

Read More

Total
0
Shares
Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Related Posts
Reckitt, Lloyds drive gains in Britain’s FTSE 100
Read More

Reckitt, Lloyds drive gains in Britain’s FTSE 100

Author of the article: UK’s blue-chip index held near one-month highs on Wednesday, as strong forecasts from heavyweights Reckitt Benckiser and Lloyds Banking Group overshadowed concerns over a slowing economy and soaring inflation. The FTSE 100 index gained 0.4% and the domestically focussed midcap 250 edged 0.3% higher. Both the indexes looked set to end…
News Corp Chairman Rupert Murdoch takes swings at Google, Facebook
Read More

News Corp Chairman Rupert Murdoch takes swings at Google, Facebook

Author of the article: Reuters Dawn Chmielewski and Helen Coster Rupert Murdoch renewed his attacks on Google and Facebook during News Corp’s annual shareholder meeting on Wednesday, accusing the tech giants of trying to silence conservative voices and calling for “significant reform.” The Silicon Valley companies are favorite targets for Murdoch, 90, who for years…
What to watch on Monday at COP27
Read More

What to watch on Monday at COP27

Author of the article: SHARM EL-SHEIKH — Leaders from around the globe will begin making speeches at the U.N. climate summit in Egypt on Monday as they seek to whip up ambition in the fight against global warming. But their messages will likely differ a lot on key points, and their soaring rhetoric will at…