Medical experts welcome availability of Moderna for Australian children

By Melissa Coade

February 21, 2022

vaccination-child
People aged 6-11 years will be eligible for the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine. (Sura Nualpradid/Adobe)

People aged 6-11 years will be eligible for the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine, known as SPIKEVAX, following provisional approval by the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA).

Last week, the TGA said children should receive two doses of the vaccine (a lower dose to adults), administered at least 28 days apart.

Dr Roger Lord, from the Australian Catholic University’s Faculty of Health Sciences, said it was welcome news this age group would be eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine, especially with the risk of new variants emerging. 

“Vaccination of school-age children will help to decrease infection rates in a substantial section of the population,” Lord said. 

“The spread of the virus happens in the early stages of infection, well before the individual becomes significantly unwell.

“Children regularly mix in schools and if unprotected will serve as a reservoir of on-going infection and a potential source of new variants over time,” he said. 

University of Queensland associate professor of medicine Paul Griffin – who is also running a number of COVID-19 vaccine studies relating to Novavax – said the addition of the mRNA SPIKEVAX vaccine to the available shots for children was welcome. 

“The data supporting its use is clear, with a large study of around 4000 children in this age group conducted in the USA and Canada demonstrating high rates of both efficacy and safety,” Griffin said.

“With school (very appropriately) going back and the transmission we have seen in this age group in recent times, the importance of comprehensive (yet reasonable) mitigation strategies including vaccination has been highlighted. Adding another safe and effective vaccine option should hopefully help further increase uptake in this age group.”

Griffin also said it was important for a high rate of vaccination across the population to control the virus in Australia, in older children and adults.  He said with the availability of the Pfizer vaccine for children down to five years, more parents should be coming forward to protect their children with a shot.

“While it has been pleasing to see many children in the 5- to 11-year age range already come out and receive their vaccine (my three children included), the uptake in this age range in our country is still less than 50%,” Griffin said.


READ MORE:

Children in Australia aged 12 and over approved for Pfizer

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