The Therapeutics Goods Administration (TGA) made the decision late last night. Previously, COVID vaccines were only approved for those over the age of 16.
The TGA said in a statement:
"(Approval) has been made following careful evaluation of the available data supporting safety and efficacy, including clinical studies with adolescents 12 to 15 years of age."
However, the TGA says:
"Continued approval depends on the evidence of longer-term efficacy and safety from ongoing clinical trials and post-market assessment."
Pfizer replaces AstraZeneca as vaccine du jour
Australia is ranked last for the percentage of people fully vaccinated in the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), and second last for people who have just one dose of the vaccine.
The federal government was relying on the bulk of supply to come from locally CSL Limited (ASX: CSL) manufactured AstraZeneca plc (LON: AZN).
However, emerging evidence of an extremely rare blood clotting disorder caused by the vaccine led to the government's expert advisory body, ATAGI, to recommend only those aged over 50, later 60, should take the vaccine.
Large swathes of Australians, including older residents, are reluctant to take the vaccine. Instead, they are waiting for more Pfizer vaccine.
The problem is we have too much AstraZeneca and not enough Pfizer vaccine.
The federal government has indemnified GPs who administer AstraZeneca in an attempt to get more jabs in arms.
It is available to those under 40 years who choose to take the jab at their doctor's office.
While today's news is positive, there is no expectation that children will be able to get inoculated any time soon.
Federal Health Minister, Greg Hunt said:
"Our plans are in place to roll out what is more likely, on the early advice I have, is that they will fast-track vaccines for 12- to 15-year-olds for the immunocompromised children or those with underlying health conditions," Hunt told Channel 7.
Other children will need to wait, along with adults, for more supply of Pfizer most likely in September or October.