Deakin University associate professor in epidemiology Hassan Vally is warning about a COVID-19 “variant soup” consisting of five new strains leading the latest wave in Australia.
“We never get too confident when we talk about the virus,” Vally told AAP.
“Every time we think we’ve got a handle on it, there’s always a surprise around the corner.”
Australia officially reported 75,590 cases of COVID-19 COVID-19 last week, an average of 10,800 per day and a 38 percent surge in cases.
Chief Medical Officer Paul Kelly announced earlier in the month that all evidence suggests that a new COVID-19 wave has arrived in Australia, driven by variants imported from overseas such as Omicron subvariants BQ.1, XBB, and BA.5.
“The experience to date with these variants overseas is that they do not appear to pose a greater risk of severe illness and death—and that the COVID-19 vaccines provide good protection against these outcomes,” he said in a statement.
Kelly said that the best ways to reduce the spread of these variants are to be vaccinated, wear a mask, and stay at home.
The Australian Medical Association (AMA) was among other experts calling for more onerous restrictions, such as lockdowns, to be implemented again to avoid a new surge of cases.
Radio host of 2GB Ben Fordham retorted that we have only been starting to get back into the office.
“Seriously, some people haven’t been to work for the best part of three years,” he said on his show.
“We’re only starting to see some of them back in the office, and the AMA wants to send them home again. This attitude has had a devastating impact on small businesses that rely on foot traffic, and the AMA wants it to happen all over again.”
“We know the risks. We are protecting the most vulnerable. But we’re not prepared to curl up in a ball and suck our thumb every time this happens.”
MRNA Vaccine Approved for Children Aged Six Months
The Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI) approved the Pfizer COVID-19 mRNA vaccine for children aged six months to four years on November 15.
Each 0.2mL dose contains three micrograms of mRNA.
“Results of a recent clinical trial demonstrate the Pfizer six-month to four years vaccine is effective at protecting against COVID-19 disease in children who have not yet been infected with SARS-CoV-2, and most side effects are short-term,” ATAGI stated.
“However, there are little data available regarding the impact of COVID-19 vaccines on routine immunisations recommended in this age group.”