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COVID-19 restrictions across Australia have been relaxed. So how can these vulnerable people reduce their risk of infection?




As more and more Australians take off their masks, immunocompromised people may be worried about them COVID-19 (new coronavirus infection) Risk level mainly among unmasked crowds.

The latest changes were made on Wednesday, with Victorian Health Minister Martin Foley proving that Victorians were fully vaccinated to enter hospitality facilities and quarantining them if closely related. Announced that there is no need to do it.

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The new rule is Changes will take effect from 11:59 pm on Friday..

Masks are no longer needed in elementary school, early childhood, or even in retail stores.

Close contact rules for people in New South Wales have also been relaxedA person who lives in the same house as a positive case can leave quarantine if the daily rapid antigen test returns negative.

The previous rule required that household contacts in positive cases be quarantined for 7 days, regardless of test results at most workplaces.

Relaxation of restrictions is welcomed by many, but vulnerable Australians may be concerned about an increased risk of exposure.

However, according to experts, people with immunodeficiency remain at high risk of COVID, but there are many tools available to provide the additional protection needed, and the situation is significantly different than it was a year ago.

Currently, additional vaccine doses and options such as boost immunity, prophylactic monoclonal antibody injections, and antivirals may help immunocompromised people take steps to resume a more normal life.

Tools freely available to immunocompromised patients are not as effective as given to patients with a healthy immune system, but they can still feel more comfortable, says Bob Wachter of the University of California School of Medicine. The doctor said. San Francisco.

“For immunocompromised patients,’I feel like I still need to be at home,’ and staying out, life is incredibly sad,” Wachter said.

“I don’t think it’s necessary at this point.”

Dr. Alfred Kim, a rheumatologist at Washington University in St. Louis, acknowledged the progress.

“Sure, we’re in much better shape than last year,” Kim said.

Still, “considering all unmasking”, high quality masks such as: N95 It remains an important tool for people with weakened immunity.

Wachter agreed that wearing a mask is still an “important protection”, especially in indoor spaces.

Some groups of people with immunodeficiency, such as organ transplant recipients, are at particularly high risk, and other groups, such as rheumatoid arthritis, may still be able to initiate some type of immune response.

Additional vaccine

Scientists’ understanding of how to optimally use vaccines in immunocompromised patients has evolved since it was first approved.

Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunity Last Month We recommended a second booster for Australians over 65, indigenous Australians over 50, caring for the elderly or disabled, and people over 16 with severe immunodeficiency...

“At this stage, we are most concerned about people who have weak or may already be weakened. It may be vaccinated early and may be older or impair the immune response. This is a group with comorbidities, “said Professor Catherine Bennett, director of epidemiology at Deakin University. Just a while ago.

ATAGI recommends that these groups receive a fourth dose within 4-6 months after the first booster or COVID-19 infection and begin at pharmacies, GPs, and vaccine clinics. increase.

Pharmacist Chloe Laingfield administers Moderna vaccine
A second booster is available for people over the age of 16 who are severely immunocompromised. credit: AAP

Deputy Chief Medical Officer Professor Michael Kidd The booster said it helped ensure continued protection against serious illness.

“Vaccination not only protects us as individuals, but also protects our families and loved ones, and continues to protect everyone in our society,” he said.

“With the Omicron variant and the Omicron subvariant that are beginning to spread throughout Australia, we have found that two doses are not enough for everyone.

“Some people are still seriously ill, and booster doses provide additional protection.”

A study Three doses of the vaccine, published in January in the CDC morbidity and mortality report, increased the protection of immunocompromised adults to 88% and increased by nearly 20% in adults who had just received two doses. I found out that I did. This study was conducted when the delta type was predominant in the United States.


Kim of the University of Washington said the most important tool for emergence is Evsheld. Provisional approval by Therapeutic Goods Department During February.

Evusheld from AstraZeneca is a monoclonal antibody cocktail given in two injections to prevent COVID.

For those who do not get an immune response after vaccination, this drug injects antibodies directly into the patient.

Patients can receive additional doses every 6 months.

“We provide antibodies that can protect them from COVID-19, which should have been produced by vaccination but cannot be produced due to a damaged immune system,” Kim said.

In clinical trials, Evusheld 83% effect on symptomatic treatment 6 months or more.

Antiviral agent

Antiviral drugs, such as Pfizer’s pills Paxrovid, may also be an option if an immunocompromised person is infected, Kim said.

COVID-19 oral treatment will be available on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) from May 1st for Australians at high risk of developing severe COVID-19.

However, this medicine may react with many other medicines, so it is not guaranteed to fit everyone. Some of them are needed for immunodeficiency medicines.

“Because of the autoimmune disease, we have to keep some of the medicines, so we can take Paxrovid for a short period of time, so we need to be a little careful,” Kim said.

At the University of California, San Francisco, doctors and staff said they are working to raise awareness of the resources freely available to immunocompromised people to prevent both infectious and serious illnesses. ..

“If you’re waiting in hanker down mode, I think it’s important to take it seriously and understand what you’re waiting for,” he said.

“It may never be better than this.”





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