Boosters expanded to 12 to 15-year-olds

(Shawn Rocco/Duke Health via AP)

COVID-19 boosters are one step closer to being rolled out for 12 to 15-year-olds, following a decision by the medical regulator.

The Therapeutic Goods Administration on Friday granted provisional approval for the Pfizer COVID-19 booster to be used for the age group.

A final decision will still have to be made on the booster’s approval by the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation.

The medical regulator recommended 12 to 15-year-olds receive their COVID booster six months after their initial vaccine course.

The TGA said the primary course could include any of the COVID-29 vaccines approved for the age group.

Work had been under way for some time by the TGA on examining data from overseas on whether to approve the booster for the cohort.

A spokesman for the TGA said the review of the vaccine data was rigorous.

“Regulatory approval of the booster dose for this age group has also been granted in Israel, the United Kingdom and the United States,” the spokesman said.

“The TGA continues to work very closely with international regulators to align regulatory approaches, share information and, where it speeds up evaluation, collaboratively review COVID-19 vaccines and treatments.

“Australians can be confident that the TGA’s review process for this vaccine was rigorous and of the highest standard.”

Previously, only those 16 and over have been able to get their COVID-19 booster.

The TGA spokesman said the decision to approve the booster for 12 to 15-year-olds was informed by expert advice from the Advisory Committee on Vaccines.

“The TGA will continue to actively monitor the safety of the vaccine in all age groups both in Australia and overseas and will not hesitate to take action if safety concerns are identified,” the spokesman said.

The final approval decision from ATAGI is expected to be made in coming days.

As of Friday, almost 70 per cent of the eligible population 16 and over have received their booster shot for COVID-19.

On Monday, the rollout began for a fourth dose, or second booster for the elderly and vulnerable Australians ahead of winter.

Health experts have warned the coming winter could see a spike in COVID-19 infections, coupled with the first major flu season in the country since the start of the pandemic.

The winter booster will be rolled out to those 65 and older, Indigenous Australians over 50, those in aged and disability care facilities, as well as people who are immunocompromised.


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