Children as young as six months could soon be vaccinated for Covid-19 in Australia
Six-month-old babies could soon be vaccinated against Covid-19 in Australia as Pfizer overcomes key hurdle
- The TGA has given Pfizer a preliminary determination for its Covid-19 vaccine
- This means that Pfizer can apply to have its shot approved for children under 5 years old
- Currently, the Pfizer vaccine is approved for individuals aged five and over
Australia is one step closer to having Covid-19 vaccinations for children aged six months to five years, with Pfizer approved to file an application with the medical regulator.
The Therapeutic Goods Administration has granted Pfizer a preliminary ruling, allowing the pharmaceutical giant to file an application to expand vaccine use to the younger cohort.
Currently, the Pfizer vaccine is approved for those age five and older, but there has been talk of expanding its use to younger children after US regulators recently approved a similar move.
Australia is one step closer to having Covid-19 vaccinations for children aged six months to five years. Pictured: Scientists wearing protective masks
A TGA spokesperson said the preliminary determination was the first step.
“The TGA has considered all eligibility criteria, including evidence of a plan to submit comprehensive clinical data and the severity of the COVID-19 pandemic,” he said.
“Approval and possible delivery in Australia would not begin until the vaccine is approved by the TGA as safe and effective and recommended by ATAGI for administration to this age group.”
The Moderna vaccine for children under five is already being considered for approval by the administration.
Health Secretary Mark Butler declined to impose an exact timetable for when a pediatric vaccine rollout would be approved.
“The TGA will take the time it takes, that’s always been our approach, it was the former government’s approach,” he told reporters in Canberra.
“I’m happy with the time it takes them to get the job done right.”
Mr Butler said talks have taken place with Moderna and Pfizer to ensure vaccines are ready for distribution once formally approved.
Moderna vaccine for children under five is already under consideration for approval
However, the health minister said it was too early to predict what the admission rate might be.
“We have a great track record in this country with up to five vaccinations overall,” he said.
“What parents under five will do is a bit unknown, we’re going to think about what support and information we give parents about this.”
The TGA said the determination did not mean that Pfizer had already submitted an application or that it had been approved; only that it was allowed to request extended use.
Australia is on track to record its 10,000th death from the virus within days.
NSW, Victoria and Queensland combined recorded 50 fatalities in the latest 24-hour reporting period, while the national toll rose to 9,897.
NSW Health warns of a surge in cases this winter as new subvariants take over, leaving people vulnerable to a second dose.
The BA.2 subline remains the dominant variant. However, it is expected that BA.4 and BA.5 will become this soon and are likely to be associated with an increase in infections.
Meanwhile, in Queensland, vaccinations are no longer mandatory for visitors to hospitals, aged care facilities, disabled accommodation and prisons.
Employees in high-risk environments such as early childhood education, primary and secondary education, prisons, youth detention centers and airports are also exempt, unless employers require them to be vaccinated.
LATEST 24-HOUR COVID-19 DATA:
NSW: 11,504 cases, 23 deaths, 1,534 hospitalized with 37 in ICU
Victoria: 9,926 cases, 17 deaths, 465 hospitalized with 21 in ICU
Tasmania: 1,268 cases, two dead, 44 hospitalized with three in ICU
SA: 3129 cases, no deaths, 237 in hospital with eight in ICU
WA: 5,548 cases, seven deaths, 219 hospitalized with 11 in ICU
Queensland: 5286 cases, 10 deaths, 631 in hospital with 14 in ICU
ACT: 1,250 cases, one death, 122 in hospital with two in ICU
Northern Territory: 354 cases, no deaths, 15 in hospital and two in ICU.