Canberra: Amid the third wave of the pandemic, Australia on Friday approved vaccination against Covid-19 for all individuals from 12 years of age, extending the current recommendation for those aged 16 years and older.
Earlier in the day, the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI) advised the government that the Pfizer vaccine is safe and effective for children aged 12-15, reports Xinhua news agency.
“ATAGI concludes that the benefits of offering COVID-19 vaccination to all younger adolescents aged 12-15 years outweigh the known or potential risks,” it said in a statement.
“As such, ATAGI recommends inclusion of this age group in the Australian Covid-19 vaccination program over time.”
Following the announcement, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said in Canberra that vaccine appointments for children would open in September.
“Principally I would see that happening especially through the General Practitioner (GP) network, and that provides the opportunity for family vaccinations, for the family to go along together across those age groups.”
On Friday, Australia reported 982 new locally-acquired cases of Covid, as the country continued to battle the third wave.
Of the news cases, 882 were from New South Wales (NSW), the current epicentre.
Victoria, the second-most populous state reported a further 79 new cases, and the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) recorded another 21, the highest in three days.
So far, about half the Australian population in NSW, Victoria, and ACT is still in lockdown.
As of Friday, there has been 47,840 confirmed cases of Covid-19 in Australia, with 989 deaths.