Australian residents will need booster doses to be deemed completely vaccinated against COVID-19, but foreign visitors will continue to require only two vaccinations to enter the country.
Late Thursday, Australia’s national cabinet approved amended recommendations from the country’s vaccination advisory body to consider “up-to-date” immunisations to include boosters.
According to Prime Minister Scott Morrison, a person’s vaccination status will be regarded “late” if they have not had a booster within six months after their second dosage.
Vaccinations are only required for some frontline workers in Australia, but many private enterprises, including big corporations, restaurants, and retailers, have made them a prerequisite for access.
As a result, the country is among the most widely vaccinated in the world, with 94 percent of adults over the age of 16 receiving a double dosage. So far, about 10 million boosters have been administered.
The decision to maintain the two-dose rule for visitors comes as officials prepare to fully restore Australia’s borders, nearly two years after they were slammed shut to slow the spread of the pandemic.
Australia, like other countries, has been battling the fast-moving Omicron strain in the recent weeks.
By midday on Friday, officials had reported just under 26,000 new cases, down from almost 30,000 on Thursday, with Western Australia and the Northern Territory remaining to report. There were 48 new fatalities reported. The number of hospital admissions remained on the decline, with about 3,300 admitted, the lowest total in more than a month.
Since the appearance of the Omicron form in late November, the majority of Australia’s pandemic total of roughly 2.7 million cases has been detected. The total number of fatalities was 4,479.