Australia’s leading vaccine advisory group is considering whether to approve COVID-19 boosters for 12 to 15-year-olds.
As the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation last week moved to approve a fourth dose for elderly and at-risk people, the group is also weighing up whether to expand the vaccine rollout for young people.
A statement from the federal health department said ATAGI was reviewing data on the use of Pfizer vaccine for 12 to 15-year-olds as a booster.
Currently, boosters are only approved for those 16 and over.
The review of Pfizer data will include information on serious illness, epidemiology and international rollout among the age group.
“ATAGI is continuing to look at emerging evidence on the use of COVID-19 vaccines and treatments as part of its ongoing review of current recommendations,” the health department said in a statement.
It comes after ATAGI last week approved a winter dose of the COVID-19 vaccine to those over 65, Indigenous Australians over 50, those in aged or disability care, along with those who are immunocompromised.
The fourth dose, or second booster, will be rolled out among the cohort from April 4, with people eligible for the dose four months after their first booster shot.
However, a second booster was not recommended for the broader population.
The new ATAGI advice was put in place ahead of a predicted surge of COVID-19 cases in winter, coinciding with a likely spike in flu cases.
Case numbers of COVID-19 have been increasing across the country in recent days due to infections linked to an Omicron sub-variant.
There were 46,888 new cases of COVID-19 reported nationally on Monday, with 16,199 in NSW, 8739 in Victoria, 7816 in Queensland, 7288 in WA, 4140 in SA, 1726 in Tasmania, 701 in the ACT and 279 in the Northern Territory.
Among those new cases was Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews, who said he had tested positive and will isolate for seven days.
NSW Treasurer Matt Kean has also tested positive, saying the virus has “finally caught up” with him.
Six deaths linked to the virus were also reported on Monday, with three of those in NSW and three in SA.