Australia’s COVID-19 vaccination rollout has reached another key milestone with bookings now available for Pfizer shots for children aged 12-15.
The news comes as NSW announces that schools will return to classroom learning from October 25.
Australia is racing ahead with the vaccine rollout, with some regions getting more jabs in arms than almost anywhere else in the world, and this is only likely to increase our protection from the virus as the Delta strain shows more transmissibility in young people.
From today, all 12-to-15-year-olds can be booked in for a Pfizer shot at a GP or Commonwealth vaccination clinic. Parents and guardians can book an appointment through the COVID-19 vaccine eligibility checker.
Pfizer has been available to young people in that age bracket since early August, however, it has previously only been granted to those who are part of the National Disability Scheme, who have underlying health conditions, or are Indigenous.
Australia as a whole now has 42% of the country double vaccinated and 67% with at least a single dose. ACT leads the charge, with 50% fully vaccinated, while WA is at the back of the pack with 37%.
At this rate, we’ll hit 80% full vaccination by around mid-November when greater freedoms are set to be returned to the country in line with the federal government’s four-phase vaccine rollout strategy.
There is already a suggestion that flights from NSW could open up as early as November as the state races to reach the 80% benchmark. NSW already has 78% of the population with at least one dose of the vaccine.
Vaccine supplies in Australia are increasing this month as shipments of Pfizer land in the country. The Moderna vaccine is also due to arrive soon and is expected to be rolled out in pharmacies from next week.
Moderna will also be made available for those aged 12-15 as well as everyone up to the age of 59. AstraZeneca is still the preferred vaccine for those aged 60 and above.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison has said that the country now has enough vaccine supply to give everyone in the country above the age of 12 a first dose by the end of October.
While some companies are now mandating vaccines for their workforces, most are allowing their employees to choose and the Prime Minister has reiterated his belief that the vaccine ought to be an individual choice.
“We’re not imposing it. We’re not mandating it. It’s your choice. It’s your health,” Morrison said.
“But I do know this. That when we get to the end of October, and certainly more likely before that, everyone will have had that opportunity. And, so, once that has been done, the country has to move on.”