Australia Approves Pfizer Vaccine For Kids Aged 12 To 15
Australia's medicines regulator has approved the use of the Pfizer/BioNTech coronavirus vaccine for children and adolescents aged 12 to 15, Health Minister Greg Hunt told local media on Friday, Deutsche Presse-Agentur (dpa) reported.
“The Therapeutic Goods Administration has overnight approved Pfizer for 12-to-15-year-olds," Hunt told the program Sunrise. The minister said that next, the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunization (ATAGI) will consider the approval. Hunt said that it is "likely" that the jab will be fast-tracked for 12-to-15-year-olds with underlying medical conditions.
The vaccine was previously approved for people aged 16 and older. Two doses will be required, at least 21 days apart. Hunt confirmed that people under 40 should become eligible to receive the jab in September to early October.
The federal government is facing increasing criticism for the slow pace of vaccinations as more than half of its population is currently in lockdown due to outbreaks in the states of New South Wales, Victoria, and South Australia.
The country had managed to largely stave off the pandemic with extremely strict measures, including by keeping its international border closed with few exceptions since March 202. However, the highly contagious Delta variant has challenged these measures over the past few weeks.
Australia, with a population of some 25 million people, has recorded over 32,000 cases and 915 deaths since the pandemic began. Over 10.6 million vaccine doses have been administered so far in the country, according to Thursday figures.