COVID-19 vaccines for children

Last Updated: 01 Sep 2022 11:59am

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Children aged 5 to 11 years

Children aged 5 to 11 years can get the COVID-19 vaccine.

It is recommended that all people should wait for 3 months after testing positive for COVID before they receive their next COVID-19 vaccine dose. The next scheduled dose should be given as soon as possible after this period. A longer gap between infection and vaccination is likely to lead to a better immune response and result in longer protection from reinfection.

The vaccine

The Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) has provisionally approved the Pfizer vaccine for Australian children aged 5 to 11 years.

The TGA has approved a special paediatric dose for children aged 5 to 11 which is one-third of the size approved for people aged 12 and over. Expert medical advice is that the paediatric dose is both safe and effective.

Children will receive two doses, eight weeks apart.

Where to get the vaccine

Vaccinations are available for children aged 5 to 11 at participating GPs and pharmacies. To find a GP, visit the Australian Government Clinic Finder.

Preparing for your vaccination appointment

Before going to a vaccination appointment, we suggest you read the My Immunisation Action Plan which:

  • makes suggestions such as bringing headphones or sunglasses with you
  • explains using a Buzzy - a small vibrating plastic bee with blue ice-pack wings which is placed on a child's arm to help block pain and distract a child getting vaccinated
  • asks you to think about what clothes your child should wear which will make it easier for the immuniser to access their arm
  • suggests you talk about who is taking your child/children to their appointment and how you will get to the clinic
  • has suggestions on how your child can sit comfortably while getting vaccinated.

Find out more about preparing for your appointment.

Benefits of vaccination

Vaccination is voluntary and safe for children.

Parents are strongly encouraged to get children aged 5 to 11 vaccinated for many reasons:

  • Protect your child – Most children who get COVID-19 have a mild illness. However, children with no history of health conditions can become very unwell. Children have a higher risk of being seriously ill or being admitted to hospital if they have certain medical conditions including:
    • chronic lung disease
    • congenital heart disease
    • neurological disease
    • obesity
    • immunocompromise.

The best way to protect your child is the vaccine.

  • Stay in school – Infected children often miss out on school and other activities. Vaccination helps protect children from getting sick with COVID-19.

Children aged 6 months to under 5 years

On 3 August 2022, the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI) recommended COVID-19 vaccine use in children aged 6 months to under 5 years who have severe immunocompromise, disability or complex and/or multiple health conditions that increase the risk of severe COVID-19. The only COVID-19 vaccine for this age group is the Moderna (Spikevax) paediatric COVID-19 vaccine.

This includes children with the following or similar conditions:

  • Severe primary or secondary immunodeficiency, including those undergoing treatment for cancer, or on immunosuppressive treatments
  • Bone marrow or stem cell transplant or chimeric antigen T-cell (CAR-T) therapy
  • Complex congenital cardiac disease
  • Structural airway anomalies or chronic lung disease
  • Type 1 diabetes mellitus
  • Chronic neurological or neuromuscular conditions
  • A disability that requires frequent assistance with activities of daily living, such as severe cerebral palsy or Down Syndrome (Trisomy 21)

Further details: ATAGI recommendations on COVID-19 vaccine use in children aged 6 months to <5 years (health.gov.au)

Vaccines for this age group will be available in Tasmania starting 5 September. If you think your child may be eligible for a Paediatric Moderna (Spikevax) COVID-19 vaccine, please see your GP or paediatrician to discuss.

They can help you find out how to access a vaccine through a GP practice or through the Tasmanian Health Service.

You can also call the Public Health Hotline on 1800 671 738 or use the Vaccine Clinic Finder to find clinics offering Paediatric Moderna (Spikevax) for infants.

Moderna (Spikevax) for children aged 6 to 11 years cannot be used for children aged 6 months to 5 years.

ATAGI does not currently recommend vaccination for children aged 6 months to under 5 years who are not in the above risk categories for severe COVID-19.  These children have a very low likelihood of severe illness from COVID-19.

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