St Joseph’s College students offered Pfizer jab while battle between states for doses likened to Hunger Games
Some 160 students at an elite private school in Sydney’s Lower North Shore have been given the Pfizer COVID vaccine despite the eligibility being limited to those aged between 40 and 60 years old.
The pupils from St Joseph’s College in Hunters Hill were given their first dose of the vaccine in May.
Principal Ross Tarlinton said the school approached NSW Health to inquire whether its students could receive their vaccine.
The reason given was that a “large number of boys” live in a residential community, which includes boys from “rural, remote and Indigenous communities”.
In the current phase of the vaccine rollout, Indigenous Australians aged over 16 are eligible for the vaccine.
“The approval and administration of the vaccine was endorsed and managed by NSW Health through the Sydney Local Health District,” Tarlinton said in a statement supplied to 7NEWS.com.au.
“The College proceeded to make arrangements for the administration of the approved vaccine at a centre determined by NSW Health.”
He added that the College does not determine vaccine priority but “welcomed the opportunity to offer the vaccine for students”.
“The College will continue to encourage and support members of its community to receive the appropriate vaccine as the opportunity arises.”
News of the students’ inoculations comes after NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard likened the fight for doses of the vaccine to the dystopian movie and book series The Hunger Games, in which competitors fight to the death for food and resources.
“Until we get enough vaccine and enough GPs actually at the frontline able to provide that vaccine into arms, we will continue to have effectively The Hunger Games going on here in NSW,” he said on Monday.
On Tuesday, COVID-19 vaccine task force head John Frewen foreshadowed that under-40s could be offered the jab in September or October.
“On the current supply forecasts that we have then I think that’s when we’re getting closer to having greater choice,” he told reporters in Canberra.
“But I won’t tie myself to specific dates at this stage.”
State and federal health officials met on Tuesday to discuss issues with the rollout, including potential staff shortages.