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Thousands of Australian children to get Covid  booster shots

Thousands of children receive Covid booster injections as vaccine is approved to keep children safe as experts fear explosion of winter cases

  • Australian children at risk of severe Covid can now get a booster
  • Immune-compromised teens and people with complex conditions are eligible
  • Previously, boosters were not recommended for children aged 12 to 15
  • The Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunization recommended the extension
  • Otherwise, healthy children are still considered protected by two shots

Australian children aged 12 to 15 who are at risk of serious illness will be eligible for a Covid-19 booster vaccine from next week.

The Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunization has recommended eligibility for the Pfizer booster to approximately 120,000 children from June 14.

They must have received their second dose at least three months ago, have a severely immunocompromised immune system, have a disability with significant health needs, or have complex or multiple health conditions that increase the risk of severe Covid.

ATAGI has recommended eligibility for booster shots for at-risk children between 12 and 15 years from next week

ATAGI has recommended eligibility for booster shots for at-risk children between 12 and 15 years from next week

Otherwise, healthy children who have received two doses of vaccine are still considered well protected against serious illness.

Health Secretary Mark Butler welcomed the recommendation on Thursday and encouraged anyone eligible to book their boosters.

Meanwhile, Australian adoption of potentially life-saving Covid-19 antivirals is slowly increasing as authorities look to simplify their distribution criteria.

Awareness of the drugs Lagevrio and Paxlovid has increased in recent weeks, thanks in large part to media coverage. However, there is still a way to go.

The Australian Medical Association’s vice president, Dr Chris Moy, said the top body was working with authorities to increase publicity for the antivirals.

Approximately 120,000 children are eligible for Pfizer booster injections, including children with weakened immune systems and children with disabilities or complex health conditions

Approximately 120,000 children are eligible for Pfizer booster injections, including children with weakened immune systems and children with disabilities or complex health conditions

He said one of the biggest challenges has continued to be getting people to take them within five days of the onset of their symptoms, the mandatory time frame for access.

They should also test positive for the virus before taking them.

“In the five-day period, sometimes some people don’t get tested in time,” Dr. Moy told AAP.

“There’s (also) a subgroup that probably wouldn’t want it anyway…some of those might be those who weren’t excited about vaccination before.”

He said the health system’s job was to make Australians aware that antivirals were an important second line of defense to reduce the risk of serious illness.

“It can make the difference between life and death for some people and also reduce the chances of ending up in hospital,” said Dr Moy.

The antiviral drugs are listed on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) and can be accessed in accordance with the guidelines, but there are also state-based regulations that may vary.

Healthy teens in the age group of 12 to 15 are still considered protected by the two vaccinations and do not need a booster

Healthy teens in the age group of 12 to 15 are still considered protected by the two vaccinations and do not need a booster

“And some don’t meet PBS guidelines either,” said Dr. Moy.

‘It is sometimes difficult for a GP to figure out what to do if he notices that a patient is caught between different criteria.’

He said some patients could be referred to state authorities to receive the medication.

dr. Moy said authorities were looking at simplifying guidelines for the distribution of antiviral drugs so that there could be harmony across the board.

There are reportedly 437,934 active cases in Australia, with 50 deaths across the country yesterday.

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