NSW Chief Health Officer Kerry Chant says time to ‘rethink’ COVID vaccine rollout to include kids
Australia’s success against the Delta variant of COVID – and future strains – could hinge on the vaccination of children, NSW Chief Health Officer Kerry Chant says.
She believes it’s time to “rethink” the rollout strategy to include children, once adults have been offered their vaccinations.
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“A couple of the characteristics of Delta strain is that we are seeing more infections from children spreading, which is not the characteristic we had observed with previous strands,” Chant said.
“It means we need to rethink and think about our role of vaccinating children.”
Currently in Australia, the Pfizer vaccine has been provisionally approved by the Therapeutic Goods Administration for those 16 or older.
The AstraZeneca vaccine was not approved for use in children.
“This is because there are limited clinical trial results showing that the vaccines are effective and safe in these age groups,” the federal government’s Department of Health website states.
Chant said eventually opening the vaccine rollout up to children, particularly of high school age, would be helpful.
“I am alluding to the fact – or stating it clearly – that having vaccines available for children, particularly high school children, will be really useful,” Chant said.
Abroad, particularly in the US, there are mounting calls for a vaccine for children.
As of July 8, more than four million children had been diagnosed with COVID-19.
That represents 14.2 per cent of all cases, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics
In the United Kingdom, the regulator has approved Pfizer for children aged 12 or older. However, a program for children has not yet commenced.
Australia on Sunday hit a key vaccine milestone of 10 million doses administered.
But only 13.7 per cent of the adult population has been fully vaccinated.
– with NBC