Allison Langdon claims one child dying from Covid is too many as experts weigh in on vaccination debate

Allison Langdon insists just one child dying from Covid is ‘definitely too many’ as expert slams plan to rush kids to vaccinate before all adults get stung

  • Push for ages 12-15 to get the Covid-19 jab has been slammed by health experts
  • Peter Collignon believes it should not be considered until the rollout is ramped up
  • Allison Langdon weighed in on discussion, saying the death of one child is one too many

Allison Langdon has weighed in on the debate about extending the coronavirus vaccine rollout to children, arguing that one young person’s death is one too many.

Australian youngsters aged 12-18 could get their hands dirty later this year or early next year as the Delta strain makes them more vulnerable.

Langdon’s insistence that no child in Australia will die from Covid was despite children having lost their lives to the virus abroad, along with four million adults worldwide.

The Therapeutic Goods Administration is reviewing an application from Pfizer to approve its age-group vaccine.

But health experts are divided over NSW chief health officer Kerry Chant’s proposal to vaccinate children as soon as possible to control future outbreaks.

Langdon made her feelings known during an interview with epidemiologist Peter Collignon on the Today Show on Tuesday.

Professor Peter Collignon (pictured) said the risk to children, even with the highly contagious Delta strain, is ‘much, much lower’ than older Australians

He is one of the experts who urged caution against rushing to vaccinate children, despite children dying from Covid-19 abroad.

He also pointed out that the vaccine rollout in Australia will only increase later in the year.

“Children can get Covid and spread it to others, but they do it less than their parents,” the Australian National University professor told the program.

“What we know around the world, people who have not been vaccinated are more likely to get infected and spread it.

‘Children are still very low, even in NSW at the moment. My understanding is that children are not 20 percent of the cases, but about 20 percent of the population or more.”

“The risk to children is much, much lower even with Delta than with older people. We still have a shortage of vaccines. In any case, we won’t have enough vaccine in October.’

Today's co-host Allison Langdon (pictured) weighed in on the debate on extending the coronavirus vaccine rollout to children

Today’s co-host Allison Langdon (pictured) weighed in on the debate on extending the coronavirus vaccine rollout to children

Langdon, a mother of two, had some tricky questions.

“The fact that one child has died is one too many, isn’t it?” asked the co-host of the Today show.

Professor Collignon argued that all adults should be vaccinated before Australia would consider starting with children as they were much less vulnerable.

“People in their thirties and forties, we don’t recommend or prefer the AstraZeneca vaccine because of a one in two million chance of dying from it,” he said.

‘In children, that risk benefit is a bigger comparison, we have to make sure that children far outweigh the benefits against the risks.

“We’re really going to make sure that the benefits of having children outweigh the risks.”

The co-host of the Today show is the mother of Scout (left) and Mack (right)

The co-host of the Today show is the mother of Scout (left) and Mack (right)

“My view in Australia where we have no distribution, let’s see what happens in America, in Canada, Europe where there is a lot of distribution.

“More vaccines will be given before we get our kids vaccinated if there’s just no data, also there isn’t enough vaccine at the moment.”

Langdon agreed that Australia had the advantage of the time, but pointed out that the US and Canada are already giving children the Covid-19 shot

“You have to assume they’ve done the investigation,” she said.

‘How do you come to a point – we, the children, are spreading the Delta variant. Can you get herd immunity without teenagers?’

Professor Collinion said: people most at risk of dying are those over the age of 70.

They are so much more important to get vaccinated than 15-year-old kids,” he said.

He also wants to see the majority of Australian adults population vaccinated before the end of the lockdowns and restrictions are considered.

NSW chief health officer Kerry Chant revealed Monday that vaccinating children could be key in controlling future outbreaks (stock image)

NSW chief health officer Kerry Chant revealed Monday that vaccinating children could be key in controlling future outbreaks (stock image)

Why has the vaccine rollout in Australia been so slow?

Australia’s rollout began in late February, more than two months after the UK and US, as there was no need to rush emergency vaccine approvals.

The first setback came in March when the EU banned the export of continent-made vaccines, causing 3.1 million of the 3.8 million doses of AstraZeneca to fail to arrive in Australia on time.

As a result, Prime Minister Scott Morrison missed his goal of vaccinating four million Aussies at 85 percent by the end of March.

In April, the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunization recommended that Australia’s main vaccine and the only one that can make it ashore, the AstraZeneca shot, should not be given to patients under the age of 50 because of a very rare but serious side effect of blood clots.

Australians are lining up to get the scarce Pfizer but have shunned the plentiful AstraZeneca

Australians are lining up to get the scarce Pfizer but have shunned the plentiful AstraZeneca

The move caused chaos as the government scrambled to secure more doses of Pfizer, the only other approved vaccine, and pushed back its goal of giving everyone a first dose from October to December.

Pfizer agreed to sell Australia another 20 million doses, doubling the existing total, but said they wouldn’t all arrive before the end of the year.

Morrison admitted the change had huge implications for the vaccination program, saying: “That was a big shock to the rollout and it’s events beyond the government’s control.”

The change also caused an increase in hesitation as a Essential Research found that 16 percent of Aussies said they would not be vaccinated, up from 12 percent in March, and the proportion willing to get vaccinated as soon as possible fell from 47 percent to 42 percent.

In June, the experts changed the advice again, recommending that only people over 60 get the AstraZeneca shot after 12 more cases of blood clots were recorded in a week, seven in their 50s.

Officials made their decision based on a risk-benefit analysis that took into account the fact that Australia had very low levels of Covid-19 due to its strict international border closure.

dr. Jamal Rifi, owner of Belmore Medical Center in Sydney’s west, told ABC: ‘People talk about hesitation or reluctance, it goes way beyond that. It’s a refusal by patients to get the AstraZeneca.’

On July 8, the government announced a deal with Pfizer to bring forward deliveries to obtain at least one million vaccines per week from July 19.

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