Weekend Gold Coast Bulletin

Kid shots a ‘relief’

- EMILY TOXWARD

A SOUTHPORT father who has two children with serious medical conditions says he’s “relived” Australia plans to offer the Pfizer Covid vaccine to children aged between 12-15.

Stephen Gleeson said it was “about time common sense” prevailed, after the federal government on Friday announced the Therapeuti­c Goods Administra­tion had approved the vaccine for immunocomp­romised kids and those with underlying medical conditions.

It now has to be approved by the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisati­on before this group of children are added to the phase 1B of the vaccine rollout.

“We are using the same vaccine as both the US and Canada, and have long links with both of those countries, so it made no sense for our government to be dragging its feet on this when both those countries have mass vaccinated children 12 to 17,” said Mr Gleeson.

His oldest son Kaile, 17, had type 1 diabetes and had received one Pfizer, while his youngest son Renan, 15, who has complicati­ons from having Kawasaki disease as a child and was “very suss” in the lungs, is not yet eligible.

Heather McLellan-Johnson, the managing director at Medical on Miami and Burleigh Cove Respirator­y Clinic, said it would be about a month or so before the vaccine would be available for children.

AUSTRALIA’S medical watchdog has approved the Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine for 12 to 15-year-olds.

Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt revealed the Therapeuti­c Goods Administra­tion had made the decision on Thursday night.

“They will fast-track vaccines for 12 to 15-year-olds for immuno-compromise­d children or those with underlying health conditions and then they will review the incoming data over the next month on the general population,” Mr Hunt told Sunrise on Friday.

He said immunocomp­romised children and kids with underlying medical conditions would immediatel­y be added to phase 1B of the vaccine rollout if the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisati­on gave the second green light.

“It’s good news, it’s additional protection for those kids with underlying health conditions,” Mr Hunt (pictured) said.

“The US is doing this for 12 to 15-year-olds and they are providing the world with very important safety data.”

The nation’s latest Covid-19 outbreaks in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane have seen clusters emerge at several schools.

Dozens of students have tested positive to the virus in Victoria from Trinity Grammar, St Patrick’s Primary School and Bacchus Marsh Grammar.

In Brisbane, a 12-year-old boy tested positive after returning from the US with his mum in June.

He is believed to have contracted the virus in Sydney, where he completed hotel quarantine.

Hundreds of students in Sydney’s eastern suburbs were also caught up in the outbreak after four students from South Coogee Public School tested positive for Covid-19 in late June.

The federal government has come under increasing pressure over Australia’s slow vaccine rollout.

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