“It would definitely be better than not having that booster, particularly [for] the third jab.”
He said things had progressed since the BA.1 variant, and the biggest vulnerability was people not getting their third or fourth boosters.
“I want people to get a third dose of anything, this new vaccine is better than the old vaccine,” he said.
Toole said there was good news was there had not been a new variant since the beginning of the year, but Omicron was “quite clever at evolving”.
Professor Damian Purcell, head of the molecular virology laboratory in the Department of Microbiology and Immunology at the Doherty Institute, said the bivalent vaccine was an important advance.
“The addition of a booster that contains both the original strain and the Omicron variant will broaden the level of protection for all individuals,” Purcell said.
He said there was a particular benefit for the elderly population and those who may have a slower and lower immune response with the current vaccine.
He urged anyone who was yet to receive a booster to get whatever was available, but said newer vaccines such as this could offer more protection.
“There’s no question forthcoming broader vaccines such as this bivalent vaccine are going to improve the protective efficacy [against the virus],” he said.
Professor Terry Nolan, head of the Vaccine and Immunisation Research Group at the Doherty Institute, said a study had shown the Moderna vaccine also produced good antibody responses to older strains such as Alpha, Beta and Delta.
“Whatever happens after Omicron…it [the new vaccine] offers a breadth of protection,” Nolan said.
He said it was an “encouraging story”, and the next step was for ATAGI to license the new jab.
He also praised the regulatory bodies for their rapid assessment and approval of vaccines.
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