Boosters approved for 12 to 15-year-olds

Andrew Brown |

Australia’s medical regulator has given approval for 12 to 15-year-olds to receive a COVID-19 booster.

The Therapeutic Goods Administration gave provisional approval for people in the cohort to receive the Pfizer booster.

A final green light will need to be given by the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation before the boosters can be rolled out to the age group.

The medical regulator has recommended the booster be given six months after the primary course of a COVID-19 vaccine.

A spokesman for the regulator said the review of the vaccine data for the booster was rigorous.

“Regulatory approval of the booster dose for this age group has also been granted in Israel, the United Kingdom and the United States,” the spokesman said.

“The TGA continues to work very closely with international regulators to align regulatory approaches, share information and, where it speeds up evaluation, collaboratively review COVID-19 vaccines and treatments.”

It’s expected the final decision on booster approval by ATAGI will be handed down in coming days.

Previously, booster had only been available for those 16 and older.

Almost 70 per cent of the eligible population have received their first booster shot.

The rollout of a fourth dose, or second booster, began earlier this week for elderly and vulnerable Australians ahead of winter.

Meanwhile, Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese indicated Labor would consider whether a royal commission into Australia’s handling of COVID-19 will be needed.

It comes following the release of a Senate inquiry report into the pandemic, which called for the commission among its 19 recommendations.

Speaking to reporters in Adelaide, Mr Albanese said it was clear the handling of the pandemic needed to be examined.

“I would have thought that was pretty obvious that you need to look at, in some form, how things occurred, whether things can be done better in the future,” he said.

“We have a range of policies as well, including the creation of an Australian Centre for Disease Control, which other countries in the OECD have, to make sure you get that constant advice and best practice.”

The Senate committee’s report also called for a Centre for Disease Control to be established, along with greater transparency for health bodies such as the Australian Health Protection Principal Committee.

Other recommendations included calls for the government to be required to report to parliament every two years on how prepared it was to handle future pandemics.

Despite the recommendations from the inquiry, Liberal senator and deputy chair James Paterson said the committee became a vehicle for partisan attacks on the government’s pandemic handling.

“The Morrison government’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, guided by the medical experts, has delivered one of the lowest rates of loss of life and one of the strongest economic recoveries in the world,” he said in the report.

“Our response to the pandemic has followed a uniquely Australian path, getting the balance right between our health and economic objectives.”


NSW: 20,396 cases, eight deaths, 1435 in hospital, 44 in ICU

Victoria: 11,192 cases, four deaths, 335 in hospital, 12 in ICU

Queensland: 10,092 cases, nine deaths, 479 in hospital, 15 in ICU

South Australia: 5666 cases, six deaths, 202 in hospital, 11 in ICU

Tasmania: 1885 cases, one death, 41 in hospital, one in ICU

Northern Territory: 536 cases, 28 in hospital, one in ICU

Western Australia: 6892 cases, two historical deaths, 243 in hospital, six in ICU

ACT: 1200 cases, one death, 55 in hospital, three in ICU