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Children aged five to 11 eligible for COVID-19 vaccine from tomorrow

From tomorrow, children aged between five and 11 will be eligible to get the COVID-19 vaccine as the Morrison Government ramps up its efforts to get all Australians vaccinated.
But there are concerns over appointment availabilities, and parents may be forced to return to at-home learning if they cannot get children in that age group vaccinated before back-to-school dates arrive.
There are some concerns over the availability of the Pfizer vaccine for children aged five to 11. (Andreas Rentz/Getty)

Professor Robert Booy, an infectious disease expert from Sydney University, said getting children vaccinated before returning to school not only protects them, but protects other family members from becoming infected if children catch it at school.

“Children are very resilient, they’re able to fight off COVID Omicron much better than we as adults can,” Professor Booy told Today.

“Having a vaccine is relevant, it’s important, it will protect children, it will prevent them from getting the serious consequences of COVID-19 and having a vaccine will also stop transmission in the family and protect vulnerable members of the family from being infected by children.”

Professor Booy said parents should make an online vaccination booking for their children as soon as possible, especially those with major health conditions including cerebral palsy, heart and lung disease and Downs syndrome, as they are the ones who will be more at risk back in the classroom.

“There’s plenty of supply but then it has to be distributed and then it has to be put in people’s arms by well-trained people,” he said.

“There’s a lot of logistics going on. It’s coming but it will take time — you won’t be able to get an appointment the first week if you haven’t already booked.”

From Monday, January 10, children aged five to 11 will be able to get the Pfizer vaccine. (Andreas Rentz/Getty)

While there is still some hesitation among parents in sending their children back to school as state and territory infection numbers continue to climb, the Prime Minister has assured all children will be back in the classroom on day one of the new school term.

The decision to make the Pfizer vaccine available to children in this age group is approved by ATAGI and the Federal Government confirmed they will be given one-third of the dosage given to those aged 12 and over.

When National Cabinet met last week, Mr Morrison said giving more children access to the vaccine would mean they can all return to classrooms on day one of the new school term.

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“Vaccinating our kids is the next step in our National Plan, which has continually provided us with a safe, step by step pathway to keeping Australians safe throughout the pandemic,” Scott Morrison said last week.

“That is our target, that is our objective, many states are already well advanced in their plans for achieving that.

“Getting kids back to school is very important and getting their vaccination from this week is very important.”

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