Children aged 12 to 16 in Australia will be eligible for the Pfizer coronavirus vaccine after the jab’s use was reportedly approved by the country’s medicine regulator.
Health Minister Greg Hunt is expected to confirm on Friday the Therapeutic Goods Administration has decided the vaccine can be given to children in that age group, The Daily Telegraph reported.
“Protecting children would be an important and welcome additional step in the national vaccination program,” Mr Hunt told the news outlet.
“Significantly, we planned for this outcome and acquired the vaccines in the event of eligibility.”
The TGA in January approved the Pfizer vaccine for people over the age of 16.
Britain’s Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation decided this week against giving COVID-19 vaccinations to under-18s who don’t have underlying health conditions.
The British regulator’s guidance said children with severe neuro-disabilities, Down’s Syndrome, immunosuppression and profound and multiple learning disabilities would be eligible for the vaccine.
Mr Hunt told the Telegraph that Australia was also likely to fast-track the vaccine for for immunocompromised children or those with underlying health conditions.
World Health Organisation chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus has argued countries that vaccinate children now against COVID-19 do so at the expense of health workers and high-risk groups in other countries.