Booster shot ‘vital’

Professor Rhonda Stuart at the Sandown Racecourse vaccination hub. 237903_01 Picture: CAM LUCADOU-WELLS

By Cam Lucadou-Wells

Monash Health has urged people to get Covid-vaccine booster shots to protect themselves from the spread of the Omicron variant.

Ahead of a booster blitz on 22 and 23 January, public health director Rhonda Stuart said a booster dose decreased the risk of being hospitalised by 95 per cent.

“I’ve seen media, social media chats about maybe just getting Covid and getting it over and done with,” Professor Stuart said.

“My advice would be that is not the way to go. We are seeing people, young, fit, healthy people, being admitted to hospital with Omicron.

“We are seeing people being admitted to ICU with Omicron, but also we’re seeing people very sick in the community, being bed-bound, having high fevers, shaking chills, terrible muscle aches.

“I wouldn’t wish that upon anyone.”

Professor Stuart noted the rising numbers of deaths from the Covid Delta-variant, as well as Omicron cases “filling our hospitals”.

“We are seeing many patients hospitalized across health services and no less than 5 per cent of them had booster doses.”

As of 21 January, there were 253 Covid patients in Monash Health hospitals, including 21 on ventilation in intensive care.

This week, Covid infections have seemingly ‘plateaued’ after surging to more than 3000 new cases a week in Greater Dandenong in January.

Active cases in the Dandenong postcode peaked at more than 1400 on 13 January.

In Casey, there were up to 7600 active cases this month – with more than 8000 new cases between 4-10 January.

Professor Stuart said boosters were required due to vaccine immunity waning after three months.

Those infected by Omicron were also urged to get boosters when well enough to do so.

The risk of reinfection was 10 times greater than for the Delta variant, she said.

There were more than 11,700 Covid vaccine bookings available at Monash Health hubs across the next seven days.

Walk-up vaccinations are available at the Dandenong Plaza pop-up clinic, including for adults and children aged 5 and up.

Interpreter services are available at the clinic.

It is open at Level 3 at Dandenong Plaza, 9am-4pm.

Bookings are also available at Sandown Racecourse vaccine hub at and 1800 675 398.