Vaccination for under-fives ‘a couple of months’ away

Australian parents will likely have to wait a couple more months before children under five can get their COVID-19 jabs according to Allen Cheng, the previous chair of the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation.

In an interview with The Sun-Herald and The Sunday Age, Cheng – who is a member of ATAGI – said that it was likely the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines would be “rolled out in a couple of months as the TGA [Therapeutic Goods Administration] and ATAGI look at it, people are trained [to deliver the jab] and we get the vaccine”.

Pfizer’s toddler jab is one-tenth as strong as the adult one, and is given three times to provide immunity.

Pfizer’s toddler jab is one-tenth as strong as the adult one, and is given three times to provide immunity.Credit:Pfizer

Cheng would not put a time frame on the roll out to children under five but, in practice, waiting a couple of more months would mean the vaccines do not start to be administered until late August or the start of September.

“What we do know after two years is that COVID is not a severe disease in children. Very occasionally there are severe complications when they have other medical conditions,” Cheng, an infectious disease physician, said.

“While I understand some parents are scared and anxious about their kids getting COVID, it’s not a dangerous disease in that group [kids aged under five].”

Cheng’s comments come as children in the United States moved one step closer to being eligible for the two-dose Moderna and three-dose Pfizer vaccines for children after the Food and Drug Administration approved the shots for children as young as six months old.


The final step is for the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention to recommend how to use vaccines, with a recommendation expected within 24 hours and final sign-off due soon after.

Australia recorded 27,042 COVID-19 cases in the last 24 hours and more than 7.7 million cases in total, with 9,323 deaths.

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