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Saturday, December 10, 2022

Vaccine for children 5 to 11 next year: Australian Minister of Health

Vaccine for children 5 to 11 next year: Australian Minister of Health

Approval of the COVID-19 vaccine for children aged 5 to 11 is imminent and will likely be introduced in January.

Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt said the Therapeutic Goods Administration and the Australian Immunization Technical Advisory Group must request Pfizer pediatric doses by the end of the year.

The first shipment is intended to arrive in Australia before Christmas.

According to Hunt, the process is “moving in a positive direction.”

“(TGA) will provide this advice, ATAGI will provide its answer, and we hope that if we have two green indicators, we will start administering baby doses to children in the first half of January.”

While January 10 is a possible rollout date, it could start in a week from both sides.

Hunt said booster doses of Moderna for the general population are also expected, with confirmation by Christmas or earlier.

“I have to get boosted in the next 10 days, so it might be a very good option to show this message,” he said.

TGA is also making headway with the development of a protein-based Novavax vaccine and may issue a pre-Christmas clearance for doses to become available in the new year.

ATAGI has decided not to shorten the six-month period during which people are encouraged to receive a booster, as earlier boosters have not been proven to provide additional protection against the Omicron variant.

Chief Physician Paul Kelly said it is too early to determine whether the strain will lead to more hospitalizations or deaths, but there is evidence that it is as or milder than current options.

Australia is likely to receive 500,000 booster doses on Saturday.

Meanwhile, former deputy chief physician Nick Coatsworth has questioned Australia’s decision to close the border to several African countries because of Omicron.

He said this policy is inconsistent due to the new variant being found in other countries with which Australia is open to travel.

“It has been proven that Omicron is not only in South African states but in Europe, it could also be in the Australian community,” Coatesworth told Sky News.

“If we have open borders elsewhere in the world, then the consistency of the policy of closing borders to travel to certain African states begins to be questioned.”

Australia banned flights from nine African countries, following Omicron, and then excluded the Seychelles, bringing the number to eight.

Its appearance has also led to the suspension of the return of foreign students and visa holders, while all other foreign travelers must be subject to quarantine measures.

To date, 15 cases of Omicron have been identified in Australia, 13 in New South Wales, one in the Northern Territory and one in ACT.

More than 400 cases of Omicron have been identified worldwide in 30 countries.

To follow

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