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Third COVID vaccine dose recommended for immunocompromised kids


Matt Woodley


17/01/2022 4:51:24 PM

Severely immunocompromised children aged 5–11 should receive a third COVID vaccine as part of their primary course, ATAGI says.

Young boy who received covid vaccine.
More than 322,000 first doses of the COVID paediatric vaccine were administered in the first week of the 5–11 rollout. (Image: AAP)

The latest recommendation, determined at a meeting of the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI) last week, brings the cohort in line with severely immunocompromised people aged 12 and older.
 
‘The third primary dose guidance has been updated to include children aged five years and older,’ an ATAGI release announcing the change states.
 
‘The recommended interval for the third primary dose is 2–6 months after the second dose of vaccine. ATAGI note this is consistent with the recent decision by the Centers for Disease Control.’
 
The dosing interval for the first two doses remains at eight weeks, but can be shortened in special circumstances to a minimum of three weeks for higher risk groups (such as those with medical risk factors for severe illness) in the context of ongoing community transmission.
 
Despite issues with supply and coordination, more than 322,000 first doses of the COVID paediatric vaccine were administered in the first week of the 5–11 rollout, which began on 10 January.
 
While it is too early for any safety signals to have emerged among this cohort in Australia, ATAGI notes that early vaccine safety data from the US paediatric program – in which more than eight million doses have been administered – has not identified any serious vaccination-related events.
 
The Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) also noted, in its most recent COVID vaccine safety report, that myocarditis was also ‘very rare’ among the eight million children vaccinated in the US in this age group, with only 11 confirmed reports that were all classified as mild cases.
 
The same safety report shows that rates of myocarditis are stabilising among adolescent boys aged 12–17, having continually crept up since that cohort began receiving doses.
 
Rates among adolescent boys remain highest for second dose recipients of the Moderna vaccine (16.5 per 100,000), while myocarditis is occurring at a rate of 11.8 per 100,000 second Pfizer doses in this cohort. Overall, there have been 1017 suspected myocarditis cases (201 among 12–17-year-old’s) in Australia from the more than 30 million mRNA vaccines administered as of 9 January.
 
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