Wearing a mask and getting booster shots of Covid "every six months" may now become the new norm for many years to come, according to Australian pharmacist Trent Twomey, National President of the Pharmacy Guild.
If modelling shows that it's best for people to get a Covid jab "every six months", then people should do so, Sky News reported quoting him. He predicted the need to wear a mask could remain in vogue "for a long time".
"I think booster shots, just like your annual influenza shot (are) something we just need to accept, it's (Covid-19) not going to be with us for many weeks and months, it's going to be with us for many years," Twomey said, adding to remain "fully vaccinated" people will have to get "a periodic inoculation".
Depending on the data that the researchers will get about the future of Covid, boosters could be needed once or twice a year, he said.
Twomey said the decision to bring forward boosters further should be up to "experts at ATAGI (Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation) ... not politicians." In the wake of the Omicron variant, the advisory group has also updated the interval period for booster shots from six months to as few as three.
Israel and Germany have also announced the roll out of a booster shot to tackle, while the UK may soon follow with recommendations from the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI).
Germany has also ordered millions of new doses of an Omicron-specific vaccine on order from BioNTech. However, delivery is not expected to take place until April or May.
In the UK, the fourth jab would likely come four months after the third if it gets the green light and could be available in the new year.
Meanwhile, the World Health Organisation (WHO) has called out against the roll out of such "blanket" drives, which, it said, will prolong the pandemic.
"Blanket booster programmes are likely to prolong the pandemic, rather than ending it, by diverting supply to countries that already have high levels of vaccination coverage, giving the virus more opportunity to spread and mutate," said WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, speaking in Geneva during his final press briefing for the year on Wednesday.
"No country can boost its way out of the pandemic," he said, adding that the current vaccines "remain effective against both the Delta and Omicron variants".
(With inputs from IANS)