Pathologists are sounding the alarm over the low uptake of coronavirus vaccine boosters as the national immunisation group suggests a fourth dose for some Australians.
The Royal College of Pathologists of Australasia says third doses are particularly low in Queensland and NSW even as COVID-19 cases rise.
"With winter commencing, it is important for everyone that they are fully up to date with all relevant vaccinations," RCPA fellow Professor William Rawlinson said.
"The RCPA recently highlighted that it is very likely that we will experience far more influenza cases in Australia this winter. This, combined with the current, rising trend of COVID-19 cases is likely to put an extraordinary strain on the healthcare system."
Western Australia has the highest uptake of third doses at about 80 per cent, while Queensland is the lowest at 58 per cent. Nationally, about two-thirds of eligible Australians have received a booster.
On Wednesday, the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation expanded eligibility for a second booster to people with health conditions or a disability.
Previously, the fourth dose has only been available to people 65 and over, those in aged or disability care, the severely immunocompromised or Indigenous people aged over 50.
Acting Health Minister Katy Gallagher urged eligible Australians to get their fourth shot.
Deaths with the virus almost trebled in NSW on Thursday, when 30 fatalities were recorded compared with 11 in the previous 24-hour reporting period.
Victoria registered 19 deaths on Thursday, up from 17 on Wednesday, while Queensland's fatalities with the virus also climbed to 19, an increase from 10 the previous day.
LATEST 24-HOUR COVID-19 DATA:
NSW: 10,926 cases, 30 deaths, 1204 in hospital with 38 in ICU
Victoria: 12,421 cases, 19 deaths, 559 in hospital with 34 in ICU
NT: 330 cases, no deaths, 12 in hospital with none in ICU
WA: 11,832 cases, two deaths, 312 in hospital with six in ICU
SA: 3837 cases, one death, 238 in hospital with nine in ICU
ACT: 911 cases, no deaths, 85 in hospital with one in ICU
QLD: 5246 cases, 19 deaths, 445 in hospital with 12 in ICU
TAS: 946 cases, no deaths, 50 in hospital with one in ICU.
Australian Associated Press
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