From next week, children aged 12-15 years old with specific medical conditions, who identify as Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander, or who live in a remote community will be able to receive the Pfizer vaccine.
This follows a review of the vaccine for use in children aged 12-15 by the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation, which has recommended its use for children at a higher risk of severe illness if they contract Covid-19.
The Australian Government has accepted the advisory group’s updated recommendations, which include various groups of children who are to be prioritised for the vaccine.
Severe asthma, diabetes and epilepsy among the qualifying disorders
Among these are children with specified medical conditions that increase their risk of severe Covid. The medical conditions include severe asthma, diabetes, obesity, cardiac and circulatory congenital anomalies, neuro-developmental disorders, epilepsy, immuno-compromised and trisomy 21.
Others are Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children, as well as all children aged 12–15 years in remote communities.
According to health minister Greg Hunt, this means that around 220,000 children in Australia will become eligible to receive the vaccine.
Hunt, said the Government expected further recommendations regarding the use Pfizer- vaccine for the remainder of children aged 12 to 15 in the coming months.
Minister says more than 12-million doses have now been administered
“I would encourage all parents who have a child with a medical condition or are immuno-compromised to bring them forward for vaccination. We want to ensure all Australians are protected from Covid-19, including the most vulnerable in our community,” he stated.
“To date, we’ve administered more than 12.3-million vaccines across Australia and I want to thank everyone who has come forward so far to receive their first and second doses; you’re doing an incredible job.”
The Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation has reviewed available data on the safety and efficacy of the Pfizer vaccine in children aged 12 to 15, the risk of Covid-19 in this age group, evidence of wider benefits, and the risks of vaccinating children.
This review follows the decision of the Therapeutics Goods Administration, which has extended its provisional registration of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine from people aged 16 years and over, to now include the 12-15 age bracket.