| 24 April 2024, Wednesday |

Australia’s drug regulator approves Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine for 12 to 15-year-olds

Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt said on Friday Australia’s drug regulator has approved Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine for use with 12 to 15-year-olds, as the country fights to curb an outbreak of the Delta variant in three states.

The Therapeutic Goods Administration has thoroughly evaluated the local and international evidence before extending its approval for the Pfizer vaccine to be administered to this age group, Hunt said in a statement.

The use of Pfizer vaccine for children has been approved several weeks ago by regulators in the United States, European Union and Britain.

Up until now, the Pfizer vaccine had only been approved for use in Australia for people aged 16 years and over.

Australia’s vaccination panel will advise on which groups of children should be prioritized for the rollout of the vaccine and when it should be administered, Hunt said.

Australia has handled the pandemic much better than many other developed economies, with just over 32,400 COVID-19 cases and 915 deaths. But stop-and-start lockdowns and a sluggish vaccine rollout have led to frustration.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison on Thursday apologized for the slow vaccination rollout as his government looks to accelerate inoculations and meet a target to vaccinate the adult population by end-2021.

So far, just under 15 percent of the adult population has been fully vaccinated.

  • Reuters