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Australian kids under 12 to be vaccinated against COVID-19 next year

Students wear face masks to school. Source: AAP

Australian children under the age of 12 are likely to remain ineligible for COVID-19 vaccinations until next year. The United States has started vaccinating 5 to 11-year olds using the Pfizer vaccine but Prime Minister Scott Morrison says any Australian approval won't be rushed.

Australians under the age of 12 are likely to remain unvaccinated against COVID-19 until next year.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison says Australian regulators will take their time to review the data.  

"Any parent, I'm sure, would want the government to be being as careful as possible with the whole population but particularly children aged 5 to 11. We've also been advised by the chief medical officer that the incidence of serious disease amongst younger children with Covid is not the same as the rest of the population so the risk is different for children aged 5 to 11 to those who are older. So, we'll be ready to go if and when he medical experts say it's safe to do so and we won't be authorising a vaccination arrangement for children aged 5 to 11 until the medical experts say it's safe for your children to be vaccinated."

US regulators signed off on the vaccine for 5 to 11-year olds last week and the American Academy of Paediatrics released a video urging parents to get their children vaccinated.

One of the voices in the video is paediatrician Lia Gaggino from the US state of Michigan.

"Many of you worry about the side effects and I want you to know that scientists and physicians around the world are making this safe for children and it's been tested on many adults around the world, millions, and it is safe. It's important that your child is vaccinated."

Victoria's Education Minister James Merlino says he hopes a vaccine rollout to young children can take place as soon as possible.

 "I would hate to see the Federal Government fail to secure vaccines to 5 to 11-year olds. Fail to secure vaccines for a second time. That's what we don't (want). In the United States, vaccines are already available for children and they're being rolled out. That means kids are safer at school, they're safer in the community. They're safer at home. We want that same opportunity for Australians as early as possible."

Click on the player at the top of the page to listen to this feature in Punjabi.

SBS is committed to informing Australia’s diverse communities about the latest COVID-19 developments. News and information is available in 63 languages at https://www.sbs.com.au/language/coronavirus

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