Update (1:49pm AEDT): South Australian Premier Steven Marshall has followed suit and also shortened the minimum timeframe for booster shot eligibility from four to three months, effective immediately.
Update (10:53am AEDT): The Australian Capital Territory has followed NSW, VIC and SA in bringing the poster interval forward to three months, effective from 20 January 2022.
The states of New South Wales and Victoria have announced COVID-19 booster eligibility will be brought forward from four months to three, allowing more than 4.7 million Australians to book a jab from today.
The news comes after both states recorded a combined total of 50 deaths – with NSW reporting 32 deaths and Victoria reporting 18.
NSW also recorded 32,297 positive test results from 8pm last night. Of those, 12,450 came from rapid-antigen tests and 19,847 were positive PCR tests.
“In our 40 vaccination hubs across New South Wales, we are bringing forward the eligibility for a booster shot up from four months to three months,” NSW Premier Perrottet said.
“I understand from the federal government that the eligibility from four months to three months in GPs and pharmacists will be available from 31 January.
“We currently have capacity for around 250,000 vaccinations every week.”
Hours at major Victorian vaccination hubs such as Sandown, Bendigo and La Trobe University have all been extended specifically for what Premier Dan Andrews describes as a “booster blitz”, which will run from this Friday to next Monday.
“This is a big push. Thousands of appointments are available, walk-in capacity has been expanded, opening hours have been extended, and more vaccinators will be on the floor,” the Victorian Premier said.
“If you got your second dose in October or earlier, now’s the time to come along to one of our major state-run centres this weekend and get your third, to protect yourself and the community for the busy year ahead.”
The rest of Victoria’s large state-run network will also be operating, and all sites except Dandenong Plaza and Ballarat Mercure will offer both Pfizer and Moderna doses
In NSW, there are currently 2,853 COVID-19 cases in hospital, including 217 people in ICU and 66 who require ventilation.
“We've seen very clearly through the numbers in ICU, that vaccination is key in terms of reducing symptoms and keeping people safe,” said Perrottet.
“I encourage everybody through what's been a difficult period of time to continue to make that effort, to make that booking.”
NSW Chief Health Officer Dr Kerry Chant is also urging people to come forward to get their booster.
“It's incredibly important that people come forward with their booster doses,” she said.
“I can’t stress enough the urgency.
“I also urge people that have got children going back to schools to think about you and your extended family - ensuring that you're boosted ahead of the school year and also that any elderly relatives are assisted in getting their booster.”
South Australians are also now eligible to receive a booster shot three months after receiving their second COVID-19 vaccine.
The state has recorded three deaths and 3,482 positive COVID tests in the past 24 hours.
"People who had their second dose three months ago are now eligible for their booster," said SA Premier Steven Marshall.
"This will create increased demand of around 225,000 shots in South Australia,”
“We have plenty of supply. You can get an appointment today right across the state.”
Meanwhile, Australian Capital Territory Health Minister Chris Steel has brought forward the jurisdiction's booster interval to three months too, allowing more Canberrans to get their third shot sooner.
The change was initially slated to come into effect from the end of January, but was brought forward to 20 January 2022 due to ample supply of vaccines.
"Through our two ACT government vaccination clinics, we have capacity to up to 32,500 vaccinations a week so there is plenty of opportunity for everyone eligible to come and receive their booster,” he says.
“Reducing the interval to three months will mean an extra 183,000 Canberrans are now eligible to receive their booster.”
Updated at 10:55am AEDT on 19 January 2022.
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