Focus on prevention in Burnet Long COVID submission

Burnet Institute

24 November, 2022

The critical importance of prevention through vaccination and public health measures is a key theme of Burnet Institute’s submission to the House of Representatives Health Committee Inquiry into Long COVID and Repeated COVID Infections.

Submissions to the Inquiry, which aims to build a picture of the health, social, educational, and economic impacts of long COVID and repeated COVID infections on individuals, families and the Australian community to inform public policy recommendations, closed on 18 November.

Findings in the Burnet submission include:

  • between 500,000 and one million Australians have or have had Long COVID, and the condition may persist for at least two years,
  • females, people aged 30-49, ethnic minorities and the socio-economically disadvantaged are at higher risk of Long COVID,
  • a third dose (booster) of a COVID-19 vaccine reduces the risk of Long COVID by up to 50 percent, and
  • currently, there is no evidence-based specific treatment for Long COVID

Significantly, the submission offers a common sense response to the question relating to the best practices to prevent Long COVID – prevention is better than cure.

“Put simply, the best way to prevent Long COVID is to reduce the number of people getting COVID infection,” the submission states. “This is done through a combination of vaccination and other public health prevention measures, particularly when cases are rising, and treatment.”

The Institute argues in its submission that public health measures promoting community-wide protective behaviours have been under-utilised in Australia.

These include encouraging the use of high-quality face masks or respirators in indoor settings, clean (ventilated and/or filtered) air, working from home where possible and testing before attending large public events.

Burnet’s recommendations to the Inquiry include the need for:

  • a standard definition of long COVID in Australia that is consistent across all jurisdictions,
  • a clear and coherent national plan for dealing with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic,
  • a national monitoring system or surveillance approach to accurately estimate the prevalence and extent of the disease burden,
  • funding for research in discovery science, prevention, treatment, and care and the health, social and economic impact of long COVID, and
  • partnerships with community organisations working with culturally and linguistically diverse communities to educate and promote access to health services for the management of long COVID

CLICK HERE to read the Burnet Institute submission.

Contact Details

For more information in relation to this news article, please contact:

Professor Brendan Crabb AC

Director and CEO; Co-Head Malaria Research Laboratory; Chair, Victorian Chapter of the Association of Australian Medical Research Institutes (AAMRI)




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