Children as young as FIVE could be vaccinated against coronavirus in just WEEKS and babies early next year
- Pfizer is seeking global approval to vaccinate children aged 5 to 11 within weeks
- Working on trialling smaller doses for younger children and infants for next year
- Australian 12-15-year-olds become eligible for Pfizer and Monerna on Monday
- Federal government expecting deliveries of millions of vaccines doses next year
Australian children as young as five could be vaccinated against Covid-19 in weeks and babies as early as next year.
Pfizer will seek regulatory approval for its vaccine to be used to immunise children aged 5 to 11 and is working on smaller doses for younger kids and babies.
The Therapeutic Goods Administration in Australia will assess the American pharmaceutical giant’s application and monitor trial results.
Ugur Sahin, chief executive of Pfizers manufacturing partner BioNTech, last week said these trials were ‘looking good’.
Pfizer also hopes to gain approval for infants to be vaccinated with its serum by the end of the year, with the smaller jabs to be rolled out in early 2022.
Harry Goodison, 12, (pictured) receives his Pfizer vaccine at the Heidelberg Repatriation Hospital, Melbourne. Pop-up vaccine hub are to be set up in schools and Covid-hit areas
The TGA approved 1.2 million Australians aged 12 to 15 for both Moderna and Pfizer with several states starting to immunise them from Monday.
Health Minister Greg Hunt said Australia will have enough supplies of the vaccines to ensure everyone of all ages was vaccinated next year.
‘We always presumed that if trials produced evidence to safely open to children of all ages, that we would have first and second doses for them,’ he said.
Deputy chief medical officer Sonya Bennett said it was too early to tell when and how younger children would be included in the vaccine rollout.
‘Firstly and importantly is the safety and efficacy, and so we’ll be watching any trials with interest, and following from that would be a recommendation,’ she said.
Lucas Walsh, 12, receives a Pfizer COVID vaccination at the Heidelberg Repatriation Hospital in Melbourne
Trials are being done to seek approval for the Pfizer vaccine to be administered to children aged 5 to 11 with hopes that infant trials will be underway by the end of the year
‘The two reasons for a recommendation would be for individual protection of children and/or population prevention around transmission, which is why we’ve always concentrated in that older age group.
‘We know that that’s where a lot of the transmission occurs and is at greatest risk, but we’ll certainly be monitoring the outcomes of those trials.’
As Pfizer supplies were limited, the vaccination of 12 to 15-year-olds was considered to be a lower priority than older Australians as the benefits of the vaccine were greater to those in higher age brackets.
Deliveries of 60 million Pfizer, 15 million Moderna, and 51 million Novavax doses are expected next year, and 35 million doses of Pfizer and Moderna will arrive in the next three months.
Lieutenant General John Frewen, the vaccine rollout chief, said allowing over-60s to get the Moderna vaccine instead of AstraZeneca would be considered once the rollout to children began.
‘We will be looking at that as the next priority to open up, but right now, we’re just keen to get the 12 to 15-year-olds through,’ he said.
The TGA approved 1.2 million Australians aged 12 to 15 for both Moderna and Pfizer with several states starting to immunise them from Monday
Prime Minister Scott Morrison (pictured) said that deliveries of the vaccines from other countries were a ‘family-sized dose of hope’
Prime Minister Scott Morrison said parents and their children could get vaccinated together at pharmacies thanks to an additional one million doses of the Moderna vaccine arriving from Europe.
He said this delivery was a ‘family-sized dose of hope’.
‘I want to thank Moderna for their support to these arrangements, as well as Norway and Sweden who have helped facilitate this deal over the course of these last few weeks,’ he said.
The Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation previously said younger children should be added to the vaccine rollout when it becomes available to them as the benefits of the vaccine far outweigh the risks.
Extremely rare side effect of the Moderna vaccine include myocarditis, which is inflammation of the heart muscle and pericarditis, inflammation of the outer lining of the heart.