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Child COVID-19 vaccine data under review

The country’s leading immunisation advisory group says it is still considering data on whether to give the final approval to COVID-19 vaccines for young children.

Following its latest meeting, the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation said a decision was yet to be made on whether to sign off on Moderna’s vaccine for children as young as six months.

The medical regulator granted provisional approval for the vaccine earlier this week, but the advisory group will still need to give the green light for the rollout to proceed.

In a statement, the advisory group said it was reviewing the data on the impact of COVID-19 infections in young children.

The data was also considering the burden of the disease in the age group in both Australia and overseas.

“ATAGI will provide advice to the minister for health on the use of COVID-19 vaccines in this age group in due course,” the statement said.

American regulators have only recently approved vaccines for young children in recent weeks.

However, Health Minister Mark Butler said supply of the child vaccine, once approved, was likely to be limited due to competition from other parts of the world.

ATAGI said it also reviewed information from the World Health Organisation on the performance of vaccines in the wake of new, more infectious sub-variants.

It comes as Australia’s fourth-dose vaccination rate is likely to pass 30 per cent of the eligible population within the next day.

The latest figures show 29.7 per cent of eligible Australians over 30 have received their second booster.

The vaccination rate for those 65 and over is 64.3 per cent, while 76.1 per cent of eligible aged care residents have received theirs.

There were more than 55,000 cases recorded across the country on Thursday, with more than 300,000 reported in the past week.

Thursday also saw 89 deaths reported, the highest single-day total since January during the height of the first Omicron wave.

The federal opposition has called for clarity on government health advice in relation to mask wearing and working from home.

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese said a reintroduction of broad mask mandates was not on the table, despite the rise in infections.

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