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Might Europe's current COVID surge be seen in Australia in 2022?

A sign indicating COVID-19 restrictions, where access is allowed only for people who are vaccinated or recovered and tested Source: DPA

Vaccines work, but they alone won't stop COVID-19. As another European winter sets in, some countries are learning this difficult lesson.

Europe's initial vaccine rollout accelerated quickly in the early months of 2021, which means many residents have now been vaccinated for more than six months.

Immunologist from the Peter Doherty Institute in Melbourne Dr Jennifer Juno says this was expected.

"We know now that the effectiveness of the vaccines against actually preventing infection does tend to wane over time, so after that six month mark, we've seen this data from Israel and the UK where we know people will start to get some what we call 'breakthrough infections' again."

So, should Australians be concerned a similar fresh wave of COVID-19 could happen here?

With the international border re-opening, it is likely case numbers will rise - but authorities say Australia will be better prepared to deal with it. Dr Juno says that's because of Australia's high vaccination rate - with more than 85 per cent of people aged over 16 nationally having received both doses.

And booster shots are already available to over 18s at all GPs and pharmacies.

"I think there are a number of factors in our favour in this point in time, obviously we have a lot of doses available for our booster doses so i think that's going to improve our ability to reduce transmission, also going into summer hopefully that will put a little bit more climate in our favour, and not see some of those effects of winter."

Click on the player at the top of the page to listen to the feature in Punjabi.

SBS is committed to informing Australia’s diverse communities about the latest COVID-19 developments. News and information is available in 63 languages at https://www.sbs.com.au/language/coronavirus

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