ATAGI approves COVID-19 vaccines for children 5-12 years old
While children older than 12 have been eligible for COVID-19 vaccination for quite some time, there has recently been much discussion about the need, dose and timing of the COVID-19 vaccines in young Australians aged 5-12 years old. After reviewing international data, the Therapeutic Good Administration (TGA) recently approved the Pfizer vaccine in this age group. This has been followed up with the approval by The Australian Technical Advisory Group on immunisations (ATAGI). The ATAGI full report could be read here.
A very brief summary of the recommendations is as follows .
- Vaccination is recommended for children (even well children) between the age of 5-12
- The benefit of the vaccine to children is beyond just preventing disease or disease spread to adults
- The dose is specific for children under 12 years of age, being 1one third of the adult dose
- The dose interval has been set at 8 week but can be reduced to as little as 3 weeks in exceptional circumstances
Extracts from the ATAGI statement are included below for your review
A new formulation of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine (Comirnaty) has been provisionally approved for use in children aged 5-11 years by the Therapeutic Goods Administration. This approval is based on the results of a recent clinical trial demonstrating that this is highly effective and that most side effects are mild and transient. ATAGI notes that real-world evidence on the safety of this vaccine in children aged 5-11 years is rapidly accumulating overseas, including data on the low rate of rare adverse events following immunisation, notably myocarditis, which the clinical trial was insufficiently powered to assess.
The recommended dose for this age group is 10µg (0.2mL), a third of the recommended 30µg dose for people aged ≥12 years.
ATAGI’s recommendations take into account:
- The direct benefits of vaccination for the child in preventing illness;
- The indirect benefits of vaccination for the child, their family and for the broader community. To realise some of these benefits, a large proportion of the 5-11 year age group would need to be vaccinated;
- Adequate supply of the paediatric Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine is expected to be available to vaccinate all 5-11-year-old children.
- ATAGI recommends vaccination with the paediatric Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine for all children aged 5-11 years.
- Children aged 5-11 years with medical risk factors for severe illness, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children, and children living in crowded conditions or outbreak areas are most likely to benefit from COVID-19 vaccination given their increased risk of severe outcomes and/or exposure.
- Children aged 5-11 years who have previously had SARS-CoV-2 infection can receive the paediatric Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine. This is recommended following recovery from their illness or vaccination can be deferred for up to 6 months. This includes children with a past history of PIMS-TS or post COVID-19 condition (‘long COVID’).
- The recommended schedule for vaccination in this age group is 2 doses, 8 weeks apart. The interval can be shortened in special circumstances to a minimum of 3 weeks, such as in an outbreak response, prior to the initiation of significant immunosuppression or international travel.
- Children who turn 12 after their first dose may receive the adolescent/adult formation of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine to complete their primary vaccine course.
- The paediatric Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine can be co-administered with other vaccines such as the flu vaccine.
- Parents and guardians should be aware that this may be associated with an increase in mild-moderate adverse events.
Making a 5-12 COVD-19 vaccine booking
Making a booking is simple and can be done by calling 02 9817 2080. We recommend you call the practice rather than book online so we can allocate you to an appropriate children’s vaccination session. You only need to book your first appointment as your second shot will be booked in the clinic during the consult.
Many appointments are available on various days and unlike early in the rollout there is no need to make appointments months in advance. We will not have a waiting list as we expect most people to be able to get an appointment when they are eligible.
We continue to vaccinate adults both for the primary course or for the booster dose. We encourage all those eligible for a booster to get one.
As usual, vaccination will occur at our vaccination clinic on level 1 which is accessible by the internal lift or outdoor stairs. Please follow the signs.