GPs welcome extension of Pfizer rollout to children aged 12-15

Photo by Lisa Ferdinando - CC licence

The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP) has welcomed news that all children aged 12 to 15 are eligible to receive the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine, with bookings opening on September 13.

The RACGP says expanding eligibly to all 12-15-year-olds comes at an opportune time, with the Delta COVID-19 variant striking many young people in Victoria and NSW – including those aged 16 and under.

RACGP President, Dr Karen Price, said COVID is not a virus that only infects and hospitalises older people.

“It affects children too and we must vaccinate as many people who are eligible as fast as we can,” she said.

“Just this week, we learned that authorities are increasingly concerned about the number of children being infected with COVID-19.

“Although they are less likely to suffer from serious effects, we have seen from international experience that when you have lots of COVID-19 cases the number of children in hospital rises significantly.”

Price encouraged parents and carers to talk with children about receiving a COVID-19 vaccination.

“Many patients, including children, are suffering from ‘information overload’ and may be a little confused as to why the eligibility requirements keep changing and why they should be vaccinated.

“However, I am confident that if parents and carers take the time to talk to children about why receiving this vaccine is important, they will be willing to roll up their sleeves.

“This is a very daunting time for our children.

Price also urged Australians to consider young children when making their own decisions on getting vaccinated.

“The reality is that for the time being children aged under 12 cannot be vaccinated,” she said.

“At this stage, there is no vaccine approved for children under 12.

“They are less likely to suffer severe effects, but the number is far from negligible.

“The Delta strain is far more infectious than earlier variants and striking populations who aren’t vaccinated, and that means our children.

“Getting vaccinated is something we can do to protect young children who are not yet eligible to receive the vaccine, so if you are eligible – please get yourself vaccinated as soon as possible.

“Don’t forget that vaccination has always been about both the individual and the broader community.”

Source: Media release, Sep 1, 2021 RACGP