The Hon. Greg Hunt MP
Minister for Health and Aged Care
23 July 2021
INTERVIEW WITH NATALIE BARR
Topics: Approval of Pfizer vaccine for 12-15 year olds, vaccine rollout.
The Therapeutic Goods Administration is expected to approve the Pfizer vaccine for children aged 12 and over. For more, I’m joined by Health Minister, Greg Hunt. Morning to you, Minister.
Good morning, Nat.
How soon could we see kids getting the jab and are you confident it is safe?
Yes, I am because the Therapeutic Goods Administration has, overnight, approved Pfizer for 12-15 year-olds.
There’s a second stage here, which is the Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation now considers it, but they’re well advanced. Our vaccine purchases included whole of population coverage, and our plans are in place to roll out.
What is more likely, on the early advice I have, is that they will fast track vaccines for 12-15 year-olds for the immunocompromised children, or those with underlying health conditions, and then they’ll review the incoming data over the course of the next month on the general population.
But again, the early advice is that they are likely to include all of those. And so, if ATAGI, if the Technical Advisory Group, gives a second green light for the immunocompromised, and kids with underlying medical conditions, they would be immediately added to what’s called the Phase 1B – they’d be able to access the Pfizer as part of all of that group of immunocompromised people.
And so, that’s good news. Additional protections, particularly for those kids with underlying medical conditions.
So when you say immediately, if ATAGI goes through that process and approves it, are we talking, you know, the next couple of weeks?
Well, those, those children with underlying medical conditions, if that were the decision of ATAGI, would then be added in the same way now that everybody with an underlying medical condition can access and book in as part of the, the program.
So, that would be what we’d do, we’d add that. And then in relation to the general 12-15-year-old population, the advice we have is that over the course of the period to mid to late August, they’ll be receiving additional data, particularly from the United States, which is open 12 to 15-year-olds to general population access.
And they’d have that data and be able to review it, and make a decision in that window on those children. But, the US is doing this for 12-15 year-olds, and they’re providing the world with very, very important safety data.
So, one of the biggest questions we get here on Sunrise, I think, is when is Pfizer going to be available to the under 40s? Have you got any news on that?
Yes. So, the expectation at this stage is September, early October. We’ve just increased our Pfizer from over 500,000 a couple of weeks ago to a million, which has arrived in the last week.
That’s what we’re expecting to receive per week over the period from now until the end of September, and then it will increase again. So, that’s the expectation at the moment.
If there were to be a variation, it would be bringing it forwards. Yesterday, we had a fantastic result, 184,000 people, a record number, over a million on a seven-day basis now. So, what we’re seeing is very high numbers of people coming forwards, commensurate with the increase in the volume of vaccines.
And that’s now, I think, at about 10.6 million vaccinations, and most importantly, more than 60 per cent of the over 50s and more than 76 per cent of the over 70s.
Yeah. I think the lockdowns are, are biting and getting people out there too. Thank you very much Minister for your time this morning.
Thanks Nat, and thanks everybody. We’ll continue to get through it. It’s difficult, but please keep coming forward for the vaccinations. You’re doing an amazing job.
Yeah. That’s the key message isn’t it, thank you.