Australian children aged five to 11 to receive Pfizer Covid vaccine from 10 January | Australia news

Australian children aged five to 11 will receive the Pfizer Covid vaccine from 10 January, after the federal government accepted a recommendation for its use from immunisation experts.

The Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation will announce on Friday that Pfizer, which was provisionally approved on Sunday, should be made available for children.

This is the second of four steps to be completed before the vaccine can be rolled out in this age group, followed by childhood specific training for healthcare providers and batch testing of doses by the Therapeutic Goods Administration.

Parents will be able to book appointments from late December, for doses to be administered from 10 January.

The vaccines will be available through GPs, Aboriginal health services, community pharmacies and state and territory clinics. School-based programs will be a matter for states and territories.

Atagi, after reviewing clinical data from Canada, recommended an eight-week interval between the two doses, which can be shortened to three weeks in special circumstances, such as outbreaks.

Scott Morrison said: “In one month from today, about 2.27 million Aussie kids aged five to 11 years will have the opportunity to roll up their sleeve and get vaccinated against Covid-19.”

“This will be welcome news for millions of families across the country who want the opportunity for the children to be vaccinated.”

The health minister, Greg Hunt, encouraged “all parents to vaccinate their children against Covid-19”.

“Vaccinating children can also help reduce community transmission and help prevent children passing the virus on to younger siblings, grandparents and the wider community,” he said.

The TGA and Atagi are also assessing the Moderna vaccine for children 6-11 years of age with advice expected over the coming weeks.

Liberal senator, Gerard Rennick, who has shared accounts of alleged vaccine adverse events on Facebook that he admits he can’t be sure are “100% accurate”, has labelled the TGA approval for child Covid vaccines “completely irresponsible”.

A spokesperson for Morrison told Guardian Australia: “The government will continue to listen to the medical experts on these issues and strongly suggests Senator Rennick does the same.”

On Tuesday the chief medical officer, Paul Kelly, reiterated that Pfizer is “worthwhile, safe and effective” for children aged five to 11.

Kelly said that Australian authorities had received “very reassuring” results from the US Centre for Disease Control, after 5m doses had been administered to children in that age group in the US.

These resulted in “vaccine side effects, which generally are very minor and not unexpected”, he said.

The head of the TGA, John Skerritt, said that one in 3,000 children who contract Covid-19 develop multi-system inflammatory syndrome, which is “quite serious and lasts many months”.

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