The UK’s Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) has taken a precautionary approach due to a rare risk of heart inflammation, ruling children are at such low risk that the benefits of doing so were only “marginally greater than the potential known harms”.
ABC presenter Dr Norman Swan has slammed the move, as three Sydney children with COVID-19 are treated in intensive care.
“Yet another quite breathtaking decision on the part of the British government, which has made a series of really quite poor decisions public health-wise over the past year or so,” he told the ABC’s Radio National program on Monday.
Children are being widely vaccinated already in the United States, Israel and many European countries.
This time next week children between 12 and 15 will be eligible for the Pfizer shot in Australia, with the federal government's vaccine expert advisory body, ATAGI, expected to finalise its advice on the use of the Moderna for this age bracket over the coming days.
The Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) last week extended approval for Moderna down to teenagers.
TGA boss John Skerritt said Australian authorities were aware of the UK's updated advice.
"When you look at the overall benefits versus the risks, the benefits significantly exceed (the risks),” he told the ABC.
Meanwhile, Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt assured parents vaccinations offer the best protection from the virus.
“Australian parents can be confident in the decisions taken by, in our view, the best medical regulators in the world, the TGA and ATAGI,” he said over the weekend.
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