NT News

Masks off, vertical

All kids 12-15 eligible for Covid-19 vaccine

- THOMAS MORGAN AND JUDITH AISTHORPE

THE Northern Territory has become the first in the country to open up vaccines to anyone aged 12 to 15, in a major milestone in the vaccine rollout.

The move to include kids in Greater Darwin is expected to turbocharg­e the Territory’s race to inoculate the population, with the government saying it has already administer­ed 200,000 vaccines since the rollout began.

Health Minister Natasha Fyles said appointmen­ts made available in Greater Darwin for 12-15 year olds would be in addition to bookings for the age group already online in Katherine, Alice Springs and Tennant Creek.

“The Territory Labor Government is the first jurisdicti­on in the country to open eligibilit­y for the COVID-19 vaccine to everyone aged 12 and above,” Ms Fyles said.

“We are also on track to be the first jurisdicti­on to rollout the vaccine to schools in coming weeks.”

Children in Nhulunbuy will be able to receive the Covid-19 vaccine via pop-up clinics, while Territoria­ns aged from 12 to 15 living in remote communitie­s will also be able to access the vaccine as part of the Territory remote rollout.

Ms Fyles said NT Health had also been working with the Department of Education to look at how the Covid-19 vaccine can be rolled out across secondary schools.

From early September, the vaccine will be provided to students in middle schools and senior schools through the school immunisati­on program, she said.

Ms Fyles said Year 11 and 12 students would be prioritise­d to ensure there was no disruption to their studies and final exams. “We know the Northern Territory has a particular­ly young and vulnerable population, which is why it’s vital we do everything we can to protect Territoria­ns from the highly infectious Delta strain,” she said.

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