COVID-19 vaccine approved for children aged 12 to 15

Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine is approved for children ages 12 to 15 by the Australian Medical Regulator.

Health Secretary Greg Hunt told the Seven Network that the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) had approved the vaccine for all children in the cohort.

People aged 16 and over have already been tentatively approved by the regulator, but the TGA was asked to see if the vaccine was safe for younger people.

But while the vaccine has been approved for this younger age group, they won’t be included in the rollout for now.

Deciding how to involve children in the vaccine rollout, including whether to prioritize those with underlying health conditions who are at greater risk for serious illness, is left to the government’s immunization advisory panel.

Plan to roll out to vulnerable children immediately

Mr Hunt said those talks were already “advanced” within the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunization (ATAGI).

“Our plans are ready to roll out, which is more likely, on the early advice I have is that they will accelerate vaccines for 12- to 15-year-olds for the immunocompromised children or those with underlying health conditions,” Mr Hunt said.

“If ATAGI gives a second green light to immunocompromised children and children with underlying medical conditions, they would immediately be added to what is called Phase 1B, they would have immediate access to the Pfizer [vaccine].”

Other children would have to wait until the rest of the adult population has had a chance to get vaccinated.

Mr Hunt said data from the US, where the vaccine has been made available to all children, will be considered by ATAGI when it is received in August or September.

The TGA has yet to publish the approvals that Hunt says have been confirmed overnight.

More to come.

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