Omicron ‘clearly not’ as threatening as flu, says Dr Nick Coatsworth

Australia’s former deputy chief medical officer has claimed the Omicron variant is less dangerous than the seasonal flu.

Dr Nick Coatsworth took the stance while downplaying the Covid health risks that lie ahead for people without pre-existing conditions.

“No, it’s not. It’s clearly not,” he told Sky News when asked if Omicron was more dangerous than the flu.

Dr Coatsworth also said he believed booster shots were only needed for vulnerable people or those with chronic illness.

“Young, fit, healthy adults and kids, their risk was so low anyway that if you take it from 0.007 to 0.001 per cent – I’m using those numbers to demonstrate the effect, I’d have to get the actual numbers for you,” he said.

“So, for the booster perspective, from the disease perspective, this is an illness that will very rarely cause harm to young, fit, healthy adults and kids.”

The comments come as states mull over to what extent booster doses should be mandated.

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews this week walked back expectations international arrivals would be required to have a third dose of vaccine to be allowed into the state.

Despite initially pushing for the change, Mr Andrews conceded it would be impractical.

“There comes a point where things become impractical and you’ve got so many systems operating at once that it doesn’t really work,” he said.

“Some things are workable and some things aren’t, it gets hard to justify.”

Just 52 per cent of Victorians over the age of 18 have received a booster shot.

The nation’s chief medical officer Paul Kelly told a senate estimates hearing on Wednesday that he wasn’t in favour of mandating vaccinations.

“Philosophically and professionally, I’m not in favour of mandating, anything including vaccinations,” Professor Kelly said.

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