COVID-19 vaccine is safe for children aged 12 to 15
Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine has been approved for children aged 12 to 15 by Australia’s medical regulator.
The Therapeutic Goods Administration said the decision was made after careful evaluation, including clinical studies.
“The decision has been made on the basis of short term efficacy and safety data,” the TGA said in a statement.
“Continued approval depends on the evidence of longer term efficacy and safety from ongoing clinical trials.”
People 16 years and older have already been provisionally approved by the regulator, but the TGA had been asked to look at whether the vaccine was safe for younger people.
Although the vaccine has been approved for this younger age group, they won’t be instantly included.
Determining how to include children in the vaccine rollout, including whether to prioritise those with underlying health conditions who are at more risk of serious illness, will be left to the government’s immunisation advisory panel.
It is expected to make that decision late next week.
Plan to immediately roll out to vulnerable kids
Health Minister Greg Hunt said those conversations were already “well advanced” within the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI).
“Our plans are in place to roll out what is more likely, on the early advice I have, is that they will fast-track vaccines for 12- to 15-year-olds for the immunocompromised children or those with underlying health conditions,” Mr Hunt told Channel 7.
“If ATAGI gives a second green light for the immunocompromised and kids with underlying medical conditions they would be immediately added to what’s called phase 1B, they would immediately be able to access the Pfizer [vaccine].”
Other children would have to continue waiting until the rest of the adult population has had the chance to be vaccinated.
Mr Hunt said data from the US, where the vaccine has been available to all children since May, would be considered by ATAGI for making a decision on expanding the vaccine program to all children over 12 when it is received in August.
“If that’s a yes, then we will make that available through schools and general programs through the course of 2021,” Mr Hunt told ABC Radio Melbourne.
Mr Hunt said the government was considering whether the program would be expanded to all people between 12 and 40 at once, or whether it would be a staged expansion.
That expansion is planned to happen in September or early October.
Earlier this week, NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian said children should be considered for inclusion in the vaccination program as the Delta variant of the virus was infecting them more seriously.
In the United Kingdom, National Health Service data showed some children were experiencing ‘long COVID’ symptoms three months after being infected. Continue reading…..