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New Covid-19 vaccines hit pharmacy shelves

New Covid-19 vaccines targeting the current Omicron variant of the virus are available in community pharmacies throughout Australia.

Dec 11, 2023, updated Dec 11, 2023
Doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech Comirnaty Omicron XBB 1.5 Covid-19 vaccine  EPA/CAROLINE BREHMAN

Doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech Comirnaty Omicron XBB 1.5 Covid-19 vaccine EPA/CAROLINE BREHMAN

The XBB 1.5 shots were approved by the Therapeutic Goods Administration in October and can be used as a primary immunisation dosage as well a booster.

Pharmacy Guild of Australia National President Professor Trent Twomey says the new vaccine available on Monday is targeted at the strain of the virus which is currently circulating among the population.

“With Covid-19 cases on the rise, it is important anyone who is due for their vaccination does so as soon as they can at their local community pharmacy,” Twomey said.

“Health authorities have recommended vaccines move away from formulations which target the original or ancestral strain.”

The Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation, known as ATAGI, recommends anyone not due for vaccination can do without the new shot as an additional booster.

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“The advice remains that you must wait six months from your last jab to get your next booster shot and older vaccinations still provide protection against the severest of symptoms,” Twomey said.

The new vaccines are manufactured by Pfizer and Moderna.

Pfizer has two formulations with one for patients aged 5-12, and one for those 12 or older.

The Moderna shot is for patients 12 and older.

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