Dear Belmore School Community,
Vaccinating 5 to 11 year old children in Australia against COVID-19 is a significant step closer, with the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) provisionally approving the Comirnaty (Pfizer) vaccine as safe and effective for use among this age group. Subject to final considerations and recommendations from the vaccination experts on the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI), and other related approvals, the Australian Government will start rolling out the Pfizer vaccine to 5 to 11 year old children from 10 January 2022.
The Government expects to receive ATAGI’s recommendations on how to incorporate this safe and effective vaccine into Australia’s COVID-19 vaccination program over the coming weeks. Subject to advice from ATAGI, vaccinating the approximately 2.3 million children aged 5 to 11 in Australia will commence. At this stage no announcement has been made concerning its mandated status. The TGA’s provisional approval of the Pfizer vaccine for 5 to 11 year old children was based on a careful evaluation of available data to support its safety and efficacy among this age group.
The vaccine dose approved by the TGA for children aged 5 to 11 is the same safe and effective vaccine used for other age cohorts, however is one-third the dose approved for those aged 12 and over. The Pfizer vaccine for 5 to 11 year old children will be distributed to vaccine providers in different packaging to the vaccine approved for people 12 and over, and will be clearly differentiated by being dispensed from orange-capped vials instead of grey or purple capped vials.
As with other age groups, the use of this vaccine in children aged 5-11 years should be given in two doses at least 3 weeks apart.
With this exciting news for all Victorian schools, we can look forward to greater confidence and safety as our primary students return to school in 2022.
As we enter the new school year many of our school community will also be ready for their own Booster vaccinations; please keep an eye on the date of your second dose and book your booster in at the 6 month mark to ensure ongoing immunity to protect yourself, your family, your loved ones and the greater Belmore School community.
Finally a reminder over the summer holidays to be sun smart, even on these grey days and remember to send sunscreen and hats in your child's school bag when they return to school in Term 1 2022.
Wishing you a safe and happy holiday from your nurses,
Marcia and Carmel