Australia will start giving covid-19 vaccines to children aged 5 to 11 from January 10, Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced today.
“This is good news for millions of families across the country who want their children to have the opportunity to be vaccinated,” Morrison said in a statement.
After reviewing the data from Canada, the Australian Vaccine Regulatory Authority recommended that there be an interval of eight weeks between the two doses of the vaccine given to children, which can be reduced to three weeks if an outbreak occurs.
Children aged 5 to 11 will initially be given the Pfizer vaccine, while the regulator will also consider the Moderna vaccine, which is expected to be decided in the coming weeks.
The decision to vaccinate children was made at a time when Australian authorities are trying to speed up the delivery of a booster dose of covid-19 vaccine. The country already has one of the highest vaccination rates in the world, with almost 90% of its population over the age of 16 fully immunized. At the same time, about 70% of adolescents aged 12 to 15 have also been fully vaccinated.
Australian authorities are urging citizens to take a third, booster dose of the vaccine as they worry about the new variant of the coronavirus, Omicron, which appears to be more contagious, at a time when the daily number of covid-19 cases is rising steadily. in Sydney, Australia’s second largest city.
New South Wales, whose capital is Sydney, announced 516 new cases of covid-19 today, the highest daily number of infections in two months.
Most cases are due to the Delta strain, but the number of infections has also increased due to the Omicron strain, which was first identified in Australia about two weeks ago. About 50 cases have been reported in the country, most of them in Sydney.
A total of approximately 225,000 cases of covid-19 and 2,084 deaths have been reported in Australia.