ATAGI okays covid vax for some under-fives

2 minute read

The ruling only applies to children with certain health conditions or disabilities.

Some children aged between six months and five years will now be eligible for a covid jab, ATAGI has announced.

But the decision only applies to infants and toddlers who have one or more of the following:

  • severe primary or secondary immunodeficiency, including those undergoing treatment for cancer
  • those who have recently had a bone marrow transplant, stem cell transplant or CAR-T therapy
  • complex congenital cardiac disease
  • structural airway anomalies or chronic lung disease
  • type 1 diabetes
  • chronic neurological or neuromuscular conditions
  • disability that requires frequent assistance, such as cerebral palsy or Down Syndrome

Most eligible children will receive two primary doses of a paediatric formulation of the Moderna Spikevax vaccine eight weeks apart, while those with severe immunocompromise will require three primary doses.

The vaccine dose itself will be half the strength of the paediatric formulation for children aged between six and 12, or a quarter of the strength of the regular Spikevax formulation.

Where possible, ATAGI recommends the covid vaccine be administered separately from other childhood vaccines, with a gap of one or two weeks.

This recommendation is to minimise the risk of adverse events like fever occurring.

Exceptions to the co-administration rule can be made in certain circumstances, such as in remote area outreach programs.

ATAGI is still actively considering whether to approve the vaccine for all other children and toddlers under five years of age.

 ATAGI statement, 26 September

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