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Support for federal COVID response surges

The Morrison government has received a post-lockdown boost in how it has handled the COVID-19 pandemic.

The latest Essential poll found nearly half of those surveyed thought the government had done a good job at handling COVID-19 in the wake of restrictions easing, while 29 per cent labelled it as poor.

The poll, based on a survey of 1089 people, found approval in government handling of the pandemic was back at 48 per cent, its highest level since Delta outbreaks in eastern states started in June.

Those in WA were the most supportive at 54 per cent, followed by NSW at 50 per cent.

Victorians registered the biggest shift in opinion from a 34 per cent approval in handling in late October to 45 per cent in the beginning of November.

As medical regulators are deciding whether to approve the Pfizer vaccine for children aged five to 11, the poll found 65 per cent of parents said they would get their children in the age group vaccinated as soon as possible once it was available.

A further 28 per cent indicated they would get their child vaccinated but not straight away while seven per cent said they wouldn’t at all.

Chief medical officer Paul Kelly said regulatory approval for a child vaccine could happen by the end of the year.

“The TGA has received their advice from Pfizer. In terms of an application for that age group they are going through that process,” he told the ABC on Tuesday.

“That is a really important factor that will come through in the coming weeks, by the end of the year.”

Health experts have warned as adult vaccination rates surge, infections among young children not yet eligible for the COVID jab could rise.

“In the (five to 11-year-old) age group, even though the cases are in large numbers, it is a very small percentage of that age group that gets severe disease,” he said.

Of the estimated 40,000 children that have contracted the virus this year, about 0.1 per cent have had severe symptoms.

There were 222 new local infections reported in NSW on Tuesday and four deaths, as the state marked the milestone of 90 per cent of its residents over 16 being fully vaccinated.

Cases were slightly down in Victoria to 1069, but 10 virus-related deaths.

Despite infections rising to 18 in the ACT, the territory government announced they would be bringing forward the easing of restrictions by two weeks.

From Friday, density limits will be eased, while household visitor caps would be scrapped and nightclubs able to reopen to punters.

Queensland Premier Annastacia Palasczuk also announced plans to drop restrictions for the fully vaccinated once the state hits 80 per cent double dosed.

Those who are unvaccinated in Queensland will be barred from hospitality venues, stadiums and visiting hospitals or aged care facilities.

Greater Darwin will also end its COVID lockout from midnight, after health restrictions were imposed on the area since Thursday.

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