Government confirms paediatric access to COVID-19 vaccine

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Health minister Mark Butler has announced that the federal government will expand access to Moderna's COVID-19 vaccine to include children aged 6 months to under 5 years in certain at-risk population groups.

The decision follows advice from the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI).

The TGA recently provisionally approved a paediatric dose of Moderna's vaccine, SPIKEVAX.

In announcing acceptance of the ATAGI advice, Mr Butler also said the government has secured 500,000 doses of the paediatric vaccine with initial supplies scheduled to start arriving in Australia later this week.

The minister said approximately 70,000 young children at higher risk of developing severe illness from COVID-19 will be able to receive a vaccination from 5 September. He said only a small proportion of vaccination sites will administer the vaccine.

ATAGI is not currently recommending COVID-19 vaccination for children aged 6 months to under 5 years who are not at increased risk.

“The Albanese Government has accepted the medical advice and made COVID-19 vaccination available to our most vulnerable young children who have significant health conditions," said Mr Butler.

“The Australian Government has secured supplies of this new vaccine for younger children and these vaccines will shortly be distributed to vaccination sites.”

The TGA also announced that is has commenced an evaluation of an application from Pfizer to extend the use of its COVID-19 vaccine, COMIRNATY, to use in a three-dose course in children aged 6 months to less than 5 years old.