Health Minister Greg Hunt has invited Pfizer to apply to Australia’s medical regulator to have its vaccine approved for young children following clinical trials in the United States.
In a letter to Pfizer’s Australia and New Zealand managing director, Hunt said the company should submit an application to the Therapeutic Goods Administration at the same time as US regulators.
“I encourage and invite Pfizer to submit a parallel application to the TGA for Australian regulatory approval at the earliest possible time,” Hunt wrote.
“Should the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation also approve vaccination of this age cohort, vaccination would commence as a priority.”
It’s expected US approval for COVID vaccines for children could be finalised as early as October.
Chief nursing officer Alison McMillan said it was possible for younger children to be vaccinated this year if regulators gave the green light.
“The likelihood is we will see it through general practice, through a range of options,” she said.
COVID-19 vaccines have only been approved for those aged 12 years and over.
The latest Federal Government vaccination data shows 16 per cent of 12- to 15-year-olds had received their first dose, while less than one per cent are fully immunised.
Australian Medical Association president Omar Khorshid said he expected young children to be able to be vaccinated as part of school-based programs.
Khorshid said that would most likely start in early 2022, due to regulatory approval being needed by the TGA and ATAGI.
The first dose rate for the national population aged over 16 now sits at almost 73 per cent, while more than 47 per cent have received two shots.
In South Australia, 63.3 per cent of over-16s have had at least one jab and 44.7 per cent are fully vaccinated.
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