Children aged between 12 and 15 years will be able to book a COVID-19 Pfizer vaccine from September 13 following the Morrison Government’s decision to implement expert medical advice.
Bookings will be available through GPs, Commonwealth Vaccination Clinics and Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisations. Each state and territory will advise when their state vaccination clinics will open to this group.
The Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI) reviewed detailed medical evidence and recommended Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccination in all children and adolescents 12 years of age and above.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison said the Moderna vaccine would also be made available subject to approvals from the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) and ATAGI recommendations for 12-18 year olds.
“Vaccinating young people will protect them and provide peace of mind to their family,” the Prime Minster said.
“Importantly, this decision provides the opportunity for families to come together to visit their GP and get vaccinated.”
Coordinator General of Operation COVID Shield Lieutenant General John Frewen has been working with the Commonwealth and states and territories on coordinating an approach for this age group while supporting those jurisdictions wishing to undertake a school based vaccination later in the year. This detail will be outlined by each state and territory.
It is expected that all children 12-18 years of age will have access to a vaccine during the course of 2021. The age group between 12 and 15 comprises of approximately 1.2 million children.
Minister for Health and Aged Care Greg Hunt said the decision was based on the final advice of ATAGI and approval by the TGA. In their advice to Government, ATAGI concludes that the severity of COVID-19 is less in adolescents compared with adults.
“To date, we’ve administered almost 18.4 million COVID-19 vaccines around Australia. I want to thank everyone who has come forward so far to receive their first and second doses, you’re doing an incredible job,” Minister Hunt said.
“I would encourage all parents from September 13 to visit the eligibility checker and book your child in for their vaccination, so we can ensure all Australians are protected from COVID-19.”
Minister for Education and Youth Alan Tudge said the rollout of the vaccines to younger Australians should give more confidence to jurisdictions to keep schools open and community activity alive.
“Some students have missed more than half a year of face-to-face learning, and it is critically important that we get all students back in classrooms as soon as possible,” Minister Tudge said.
“Keeping kids in schools is so important, not just for their education, but for their mental health, physical development and to have those critical interactions with their peers and teachers.”
Parents should check the COVID-19 eligibility checker from 13 September to book in their child’s vaccination.
The Therapeutic Goods Administration is also currently considering the use of the Moderna vaccine in 12-17 years of age as a priority, with a decision expected soon.
Pharmacies will come on board to administer Moderna subject to approval by the TGA and ATAGI.
The Commonwealth Government has secured more than 280 million COVID-19 vaccines, including 125 million Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines and 25 million Moderna vaccines.