The Hon. Greg Hunt MP
Minister for Health and Aged Care
Three million vaccines are being distributed ahead of the start of the school year to enable the 2.3 million children now eligible to be vaccinated against COVID to get their first vaccine.
They will join children aged 12 to 15, who are rapidly taking up vaccination as part of Australia’s successful vaccination program.
Australia is one of the most vaccinated countries against COVID-19, with over 91 per cent of the eligible population now fully vaccinated and more than three million boosters administered to date.
Australia is also one of the first countries to commence vaccinating children against COVID-19, with the United States also offering children aged 5-11 the Pfizer vaccine.
Over 73 per cent of 12 to 15 year old children have been fully vaccinated and now children aged 5 to 11 can come forward and benefit from the protection a COVID-19 vaccination provides.
High rates of vaccination among children not only contributes to overall community protection but also reduces the chances of outbreaks causing further disruption to children’s schooling and other activities.
Following the Therapeutic Goods Administration’s (TGA) approval of the Comirnaty (Pfizer) vaccine for the 5 to 11 age group, the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI) has advised the Australian Government on how best to safely incorporate it into Australia’s COVID-19 vaccination program.
Parents, carers and guardians can be reassured that by vaccinating their children against COVID-19 they have done everything possible to keep their child safe from this virus.
The Pfizer vaccine for 5 to 11-year-olds will be distributed to vaccine providers in different packaging to the vaccine approved for people 12 and over, and will be clearly differentiated by being dispensed from orange-capped vials instead of grey or purple capped vials.
As with other age groups, the use of this vaccine in children aged 5-11 years should be given in two doses at least 8 weeks apart.
Vaccine deliveries began in late 2021 and have undergone rigorous batch testing in the TGA laboratories.
This vaccine – like all other vaccines – is safe, effective and free and has undergone extensive testing for safety and efficacy before being approved by the TGA.
To date, Pfizer is the only vaccine approved for use in this age group.
The TGA is also currently evaluating an application from Moderna for its COVID-19 vaccine to be used in Australia for children aged 6 to 11 and the Government already has supply deals in place to make it available should it be approved by the TGA and recommended by ATAGI.
Bookings can be made via the Commonwealth’s Vaccine Clinic Finder.