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What do we know about COVID-19 vaccines for children under 12?

With nearly 60% of Australian children aged 12 to 15 now fully vaccinated against COVID-19, attention is turning to the younger age groups.

This week, Israel followed the United States in allowing the Pfizer vaccine for use in people aged five to 11.

Australia’s medical regulator TGA is monitoring these countries closely, but Health Minister Greg Hunt has said young children here are unlikely to receive the vaccine before Christmas.

While the Pfizer vaccine has been used both safely and effectively in adults, its approval for our younger citizens is more complex.

Why vaccinate children?

Just like giving the green light to vaccines for older Australians, approving it for younger ones involves a calculation of the benefit versus the risk.

Children tend to be less severely affected by the COVID-19 virus, so even a very small number of side effects during clinical trials could make it more difficult for health officials to justify the value of a dose of vaccine.

But a very small number of infected children will become seriously ill. Infections in unvaccinated children have also increased due to the highly infectious Delta variant.

Read all about it here.

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