COVID-19

Major change to Aussie vaccine rollout

Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt revealed the Therapeutic Goods Administration had made the landmark decision overnight.“They will fast-track vaccines for 12 to 15-year-olds for immunocompromised children or those with underlying health conditions and then they will review the incoming data over the next month on the general population,” Mr Hunt told Sunrise on Friday morning.Mr Hunt said immunocompromised children and kids with underlying medical conditions would immediately added to the phase 1B of the vaccine rollout if the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI) gives the second green light.“It’s good news, it’s additional protection for those kids with underlying health conditions,” he said.“The US is doing this for 12 to 15-year-olds and they are providing the world with very important safety data.”The nation’s latest Covid-19 outbreaks in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane have seen clusters emerge at several schools.Dozens of students have tested positive to the virus in Victoria from Trinity Grammar, St Patrick’s Primary School and Bacchus Marsh Grammar.In Brisbane, a 12-year-old boy tested positive after returning from the United States with his mum in June. He is believed to have contracted the virus in Sydney, where he completed hotel quarantine. Hundreds of students in Sydney’s eastern suburbs were also caught up in the outbreak after four students from South Coogee Public School tested positive for Covid-19 in late June.The federal government has come under increasing pressure over Australia’s slow vaccine rollout as the nation battles outbreaks on multiple fronts.Sydney’s outbreak has ballooned to 1648 cases, while Melbourne’s has reached 133 infections.Prime Minister Scott Morrison apologised to the country on Thursday for the slow vaccine rollout and said the government was trying to fix the problems.“I’m sorry that we haven’t been able to achieve the marks that we had hoped for at the beginning of this year,” he said.“I take responsibility for the vaccination program. I also take responsibility for the challenges we’ve had.”Mr Hunt said he expected the Pfizer jab to be available to Australians aged under 40 in September or by early October.“We have just increased our Pfizer intake from over 500,000 a couple of weeks ago to 1 million, which has arrived in the last week,” he said.“That is what we are expecting to receive per week over the period from now until the end of September and then it will increase again.”Mr Hunt said Australia was now administering more than 1 million doses of the vaccine per [email protected]

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