‘Provisional Approval’: Australian Children Aged 5-11 To Receive Pfizer Covid Vaccine From Mid-January

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Australian children aged 5 to 11 could receive the Pfizer Covid vaccine as early as January 10, after provisional approval from the country’s drug regulator.

The Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) green light, announced by Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt on Sunday, will likely be followed by an independent recommendation from the Australian Vaccination Technical Advisory Group (Atagi) to use the vaccine in this age group.

Hunt told reporters the interim approval was “to keep our children safe, our families safe, the safety of all Australians”.

“From January 10, Australian children will have access to Pfizer vaccines, and this is recommended for children across Australia,” he said in Melbourne.

Hunt said the TGA is also considering pediatric doses of Moderna, the other mRNA vaccine, and will form an opinion on this “in the coming weeks.”

TGA chief Professor John Skerritt said the Pfizer vaccine had been “extensively clinically tested,” including a trial of 2,500 children aged five to 11.

“The body’s response, the immune response, was the same as in young adults,” he said.

“There were… no safety issues identified in these trials. Children had the same things as adults – fatigue, sore arms, headaches, etc. – but these tended to be short and short. “

Skerritt said children’s Pfizer was the “same vaccine” but “formulated differently for children” – using one-third of an adult dose.

“It will be in a different color, it will be in a bottle that will have an orange cap to distinguish it from adults, which are gray or purple. “

Skerritt said there are 2.3 million Australian children in the five to 11 age group and that currently a fifth of all Covid cases are in the under 12 age group. This “may actually be higher for the Omicron variant,” he said.

Skerritt said that while “most children” have contracted mild Covid infection, around one in 3,000 will develop multisystem inflammatory disease and “can end up being very sick for months.”

After a slow start due to insufficient supplies of Pfizer and the blood clot warning applied to AstraZeneca, Australia’s vaccination program has returned to the best rates in the world.

Hunt said 92.8% of Australians aged 16 and over have now received a first dose of a Covid-19 vaccine and 88% have received a double dose.

Since the opening of vaccinations to the 12 to 15 age group in September, more than three-quarters (76.7%) of this cohort have received a first dose while two-thirds (67.8%) have received a first dose. received two doses.

Despite the improvement, Indigenous Australians still lag behind others in their immunization rates.

Hunt said on Sunday that adding children aged five to 11 to the vaccination schedule should not change the national reopening plan which was based on vaccination targets in the adult population.

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