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The Canberra Times

COVID hospitalisations decrease as fourth booster eligibility announced

The number of people in ACT hospitals with COVID has declined, with 85 reported in the 24 hours to 8pm on Wednesday.

Just one person has been reported as requiring intensive care, they are not on ventilation.

Hospitalisations are down from 88 the day prior and 90 people in hospital before that.

There was 911 new cases of coronavirus recorded in the ACT in the latest reporting period.

The total number of active cases in the ACT now stands at 4888.

The Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation announced the expansion of fourth vaccine eligibility this week.

A winter booster will be available to people at increased risk of serious illness from coronavirus from Monday, provided it has been four months since their first booster dose.

It applies to people aged 16 to 64 who have a medical condition which increases the risk of severe COVID-19 illness, people with disability with significant or complex health needs or multiple comorbidities.

It follows a recommendation of a fourth booster for people aged 65 and above, residents of aged care or disability care, people with severe immunocompromise and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 50 or above, which was made in March.

Health experts have sounded the alarm over the low uptake of coronavirus vaccine boosters, the Royal College of Pathologists of Australasia saying 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.

Acting Health Minister Katy Gallagher urged eligible Australians to get their fourth shot.

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.

- with Australian Associated Press

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Capital Pathology staff in Deakin. Picture: Sitthixay Ditthavong