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Australia’s borders have finally fully re-opened more than two years after the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, even as calls grow for a fourth booster shot to be made widely available.

From today, unvaccinated travellers will be allowed to enter the country, marking an end to long-lasting border regulations.

However, it comes as New South Wales authorities confirmed the state is in the middle of another COVID-19 wave, with warnings of rising cases around the country.

A nurse administers a pediatric dose of the Covid-19 vaccine to a girl at a L.A. Care Health Plan vaccination clinic at Los Angeles Mission College in the Sylmar neighborhood in Los Angeles, California, January 19, 2022
There are calls to increase the availability of the fourth COVID-19 vaccination. (Robyn Beck / AFP via Getty Images)

Chief Health Officer Dr Kerry Chant said NSW case numbers and hospitalisations are expected to peak in late July and early August.

“We predict hospitalisations will be similar to BA.1 in January,” she said.

The new wave has pushed forward the possibility of making a fourth COVID-19 vaccination more widely available.

Currently, over-65s and other vulnerable groups have access, but it could soon become open to the rest of the country as well.

NSW Chief Health Officer Dr Kerry Chant said a new wave of COVID-19 has begun in the state, which has been sparked by the latest Omicron variants.
NSW Chief Health Officer Dr Kerry Chant said a new wave of COVID-19 has begun in the state, which has been sparked by the latest Omicron variants. (Nine)

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese said it’s more a matter of “when”, not “if”, the fourth jab is offered to more Australians.

National vaccine advisory group ATAGI is set to meet today to consider the issue.

It is a move supported by state health officers, who have expressed concern over the spike in Omicron sub-variants which are better at evading immunity.

NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard said if there is no issue with vaccine supply the eligibility for a fourth dose of the vaccine should be expanded.

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“Every extra dose helps, so if we can get a fourth dose let’s do it,” he said.

“I’d like to see the rules changed as quickly as possible to allow for a fourth dose to be allowed for a much greater age bracket.”

He said the fully vaccinated had far less chance of serious illness or death.

“There is no playbook when you’re in a pandemic, we’re learning as we go, what we do know now is getting fully vaccinated whatever number of vaccinations you’re eligible to get does make a difference,” he said.

“These pesky little variants are quite intelligent and working their way around the current vaccines to a certain extent.”

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