Coronavirus crisis: Sue Ellery rules out including kids under 12 in 80 per cent vaccination threshold
WA remains on track to announce when it will re-open to the rest of the country within days after Education Minister Sue Ellery confirmed kids under 12 will not count towards the 80 per cent vaccination threshold required to set a date.
Yesterday, the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) provisionally approved the Pfizer vaccine for children between five and 11 years of age and jabs in that age group are expected to begin from January 10.
Australian Medical Association (WA) boss Mark Duncan-Smith has called for WA’s hard border to remain in place until children in that cohort have been vaccinated but Ms Ellery on Monday ruled out any further delay.
“We’re not going to be adding the 5-11 year-old group to the numbers that we count for (the 80 per cent threshold),” Ms Ellery said.
“We’re already well underway in achieving what we needed to achieve in those targets and it just wouldn’t be right to kind of change the rules partway through that.”
Ms Ellery said children would not be required to receive a coronavirus vaccine to attend school but that she nonetheless expected a “really high uptake”.
“I’ve lost count of the number of parents of primary school aged children who have asked me when that vaccine is going to be available,” she said.
“The timing is also pretty good if it is the case that the roll-out can commence from around about the 10th of January ... given that school year doesn’t start until early February.”
GPs are expected to administer the bulk of COVID jabs to children under 12 but Ms Ellery said the WA Government was also investigating establishing age-specific clinics for the cohort.
“The thinking at this point is that you wouldn’t mix that category, that age group of children, with others because the dosages are different,” Ms Ellery said.
“And we wouldn’t want to ... add any higher risk to that. So at this point, the thinking is that (vaccination will occur) primarily through GPs but there may also be some 5-11 year-old specific clinics.”
Around 76 per cent of West Australians aged 12 and over are now double-jabbed against COVID-19 and the 80 per cent mark is expected to be reached in coming days.
At that point, Premier Mark McGowan has vowed to set a future date to permanently tear down WA’s hard border, which will be based on when the state is expected to reach 90 per cent full immunisation.
Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk today announced the Sunshine State would re-open for quarantine-free interstate travel four days earlier than originally expected on December 13.
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