As the country battles the third wave of the pandemic, children as young as five years old may be eligible for coronavirus vaccines by the end of 2021, according to a top official on Sunday.
According to the Xinhua news agency, Allen Cheng, co-chair of the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI), children aged five to 11 could begin receiving vaccinations in late December “if all the stars aligned.”
It follows Pfizer’s confirmation that it will file an application with the medical regulator, the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA).
However, Cheng cautioned that approval was not guaranteed because Covid-19 poses a “pretty minor” risk to schoolchildren.
“When we are thinking about 80-year-olds, where the danger of Covid is really obvious, about a third of people die,” he was quoted by Nine Entertainment newspapers on Sunday.
“When we are looking at kids, who rarely go to hospital and as a rule don’t die from Covid, then that’s sort of a different equation.”
In response, Health Minister Greg Hunt stated that if the TGA grants approval, Australia has enough Pfizer supply to fully inoculate 2.1 million children in the age bracket.
Australia reported over 2,300 new locally acquired Covid-19 infections and 11 deaths on Sunday.