Concern over slow third-dose take up

Burnet Institute

25 March, 2022

Burnet Institute Director and CEO Professor Brendan Crabb AC is concerned about the slow take up of third COVID-19 doses in Australia, and the prospect that new variants will emerge as immunity from vaccination wanes.

Millions of eligible Australians are yet to get their third COVID-19 vaccine dose, and the daily vaccination numbers are declining.

“We’re going to face a situation with new viruses, waning immunity that will lead to a virus surge and a highly disrupted society,” Professor Crabb told The Australian.

“The thing we do know is that unpredictable variants are likely, and waning immunity is definite, so we need to plan for that or else we will be caught out once again with all the health and economic and social disaster that comes from that.”

Around two-thirds of eligible Australians have received more than two vaccination doses compared to a double vaccination rate of 95 per cent.

Professor Crabb said declining COVID case numbers and perceptions that the Omicron variant is not as severe may be contributing to the low take up.

“The lower third dose rate of vaccination in Australia is extremely worrying, and I think fostered by the confusing attitude people get from the top, from federal and state governments, that says ‘don’t worry too much about COVID anymore’, he said.

“But as the virus has become Omicron, the third dose became absolutely essential. It really is the difference between possibly saving your life or having severe disease or not.”

Professor Crabb noted one third of the global community is yet to be vaccinated “and those countries are factories for new variants”.

Click here to read The Australian article in full.

Staff Member


Contact Details

For more information in relation to this news article, please contact:

Professor Brendan Crabb AC

Director and CEO; Co-Head Malaria Research Laboratory; Chair, Victorian Chapter of the Association of Australian Medical Research Institutes (AAMRI)




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