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Pfizer vaccine approved for all Australians aged 12 and up

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The Pfizer vaccine has been approved for all Australians aged 12 and up after health experts said the increasing spread of the Delta variant made vaccinating adolescents even more important.

The Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation announced the change on Friday morning, after Prime Minister Scott Morrison had flagged the decision earlier in the week.

The Pfizer vaccine has been approved for Australians aged 12 and up.Credit:Alex Ellinghausen

“Vaccination against COVID-19 is recommended for all individuals from 12 years of age, extending the current recommendation for those aged 16 years and older,” the ATAGI statement said.

“A two-dose schedule using Comirnaty (Pfizer), the only vaccine currently registered for use in Australia in this age group, is recommended. Recommendations on the use of Spikevax (Moderna) for adolescents will be finalised following the decision on provisional registration of Spikevax (Moderna) in this age group.”

ATAGI said the spread of the Delta variant among younger children was a contributing factor to the decision.

“In the many countries experiencing Delta variant transmission, including in Australia, the median age of people with COVID-19 is falling with adolescents and children accounting for a higher proportion of disease in the context of vaccinated older age groups,” the group said.

“Overall hospitalisation rates for COVID-19 in the adolescent age group are higher than for other diseases such as influenza.”

Australian health experts say even though more cases are being found in children, they are mainly mild.

“The evidence shows, to the best of our knowledge to date, COVID-19 – even with Delta – remains a mild illness for children,” Royal Australasian College of Physicians president-elect and paediatrician Dr Jacqueline Small said.

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