9 September 2022

Selected GPs to administer Moderna vaccine to at-risk children aged under five years

| Katrina Condie
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At-risk children aged six months to under five years can now be vaccinated against COVID-19. Photo: NSW Health.

Selected medical centres from Wollongong in the north to Tura Beach in the south, and west to Goulburn and Jindabyne have been appointed to vaccinate youngsters at risk of developing severe COVID-19 complications.

More than 14 general practices in South Eastern NSW can now administer the Moderna vaccine to at-risk children aged six months to under five years.

Vaccination against COVID-19 is recommended by the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI) only for children under five years of age with severe immunocompromise, disability, and those who have complex and/or multiple health conditions which increase their risk of severe COVID-19.

These include children with severe primary or secondary immunodeficiency, including those undergoing treatment for cancer, or on immunosuppressive treatments, children with complex congenital cardiac disease, structural airway anomalies or chronic lung disease or type 1 diabetes mellitus.

Children with chronic neurological or neuromuscular conditions, or a disability that requires frequent assistance with activities of daily living, such as severe cerebral palsy or Down syndrome should also be vaccinated.

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COORDINARE – South Eastern NSW Primary Health Network CEO Dianna Kitcher says most children won’t require the vaccine.

“General practices administering the Moderna six-month to five-years vaccine in our region have been selected by the Commonwealth Government based on geographic coverage of the eligible population, expected patient numbers and usage of current vaccines,” she said.

“At this stage, most children aged six months to under five years won’t require a COVID vaccine, as they have a very low likelihood of severe illness from COVID-19.”

To check eligibility, parents are encouraged to view the list of conditions on the Department of Health and Aged Care’s website or contact the National Coronavirus Helpline on 1800 020 080.

Photo: NSW Health.

The general practice vaccination sites selected for South Eastern NSW are located in Batemans Bay, Bulli, Goulburn, Jindabyne, Helensburgh, Moruya, Nowra, Queanbeyan, Sussex Inlet, Tura Beach, Ulladulla, Warrawong, Wollongong and Yass.

Bookings are now open on the Vaccine Clinic Finder. The recommendation is for two primary doses, except for those children with severe immunocompromise who will require three primary doses. The recommended interval between each dose is eight weeks.

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A paediatric formulation of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine (Spikevax) was provisionally approved by the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) on 19 July 2022 for use in children aged six months to five years.

If an eligible child has had COVID-19, they should wait three months after testing positive to COVID-19 before they have a COVID-19 vaccine dose. The next scheduled dose should be given as soon as possible after three months.

ATAGI reiterate the previous recommendation that all children aged five years or older are recommended to receive a two-dose course of COVID-19 vaccine.

A list of conditions (not exhaustive) and the full recommendation for children who are at risk of severe COVID-19 can be found on the Australian Government Department of Health and Aged Care’s website.

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