Australia's kids to be vaccinated from next year

Author
news.com.au,
Publish Date
Sun, 14 Nov 2021, 3:41PM
Children aged 5 to 11 will soon be receiving the vaccine in Australia. Photo / 123Rf
Children aged 5 to 11 will soon be receiving the vaccine in Australia. Photo / 123Rf

Australia's kids to be vaccinated from next year

Author
news.com.au,
Publish Date
Sun, 14 Nov 2021, 3:41PM

Australian children aged between 5 and 11 will likely be able to be vaccinated against Covid-19 from early next year. 

The head of the country's vaccine rollout, Lieutenant-General John Frewen, told Nine Newspapers the scheme to protect young children will ramp up in late January if the vaccine is approved by the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation and the Therapeutic Goods Administration. 

The children's Pfizer vaccine is slightly different compared to the one administered to those over 12. The vaccine has 10 micrograms in each shot, compared to 30 in the adult dose. 

General Frewen told Nine Newspapers Australia had secured more than five million doses of the vaccine. 

"We have already secured Pfizer 5 to 11 vials as part of our booster contract as a contingency if other vials were required. We have actually purchased sufficient supply for doses and boosters down to infants," he said. 

"While it is a matter for the TGA and Atagi [to approve the jabs], once US data is available and approvals are given, this could be for commencement at the start of January but this will depend on the independent assessment processes. 

"So when's the earliest time this happens? You know, if it's happening by the end of January, then I think things are going at a good speed." 

The rollout of the vaccine is not expected to be mass administered in schools but rather by GPs, pharmacists and vaccination hubs. 

It comes as experts warn Australia's Covid-19 honeymoon may be about to end. 

On Saturday, Victorian health authorities announced 1221 new local Covid-19 cases and four deaths. NSW saw 250 cases and no deaths. 

For Victoria, that's around 100 more than Friday but the trend downwards continues in a state that was seeing more than 2000 cases a month ago. 

The 250 cases north of the Murray is the lowest for four days but is higher than the 129 cases on October 31. 

Infectious diseases expert Professor Dale Fisher of Singapore's National University said Singapore's situation should be a sobering lesson for Australia. 

"I think you will get a bit of a (summer) honeymoon because people open the doors, windows, go outside for picnics. That's much safer," he told the ABC. 

"My concern, in Australia, would be more about March to April, as you're going back into winter."