COVID-19 vaccination for 5-11 year olds

Key points

  • The vaccine rollout for children aged 5-11 is now underway.
  • The Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) has approved the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine for children who are 5 to 11 years of age.
  • The Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI) recommends the use of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine in children aged 5 to 11 years.
  • The recommended schedule for vaccination in this age group is 2 doses, 8 weeks apart.
  • The interval can be shortened to a minimum of 3 weeks in special circumstances, for example:
    • as part of an outbreak response
    • before the start of significant immunosuppression, or
    • before international travel.
  • The vaccines will be available through participating general practices, pharmacies, Aboriginal Controlled Community Health Organisations and family-friendly state vaccination centres. There will also be some community-based vaccination clinics, including some in primary schools, throughout Term 1, 2022.
  • For more information on the vaccination roll out for 5-11 year olds, visit the Victorian Government website.
  • Click here to book your child’s COVID-19 vaccination.

Frequently asked questions

It is not mandatory to get vaccinated. However, by getting vaccinated, young children are helping to protect themselves and their families, as well as their schools and communities.

The vaccines will be available through participating:

  • general practices
  • pharmacies
  • Aboriginal Controlled Community Health Organisations

Parents and guardians will be able to book an appointment for their children at a doctor’s clinic or pharmacy on the Australian Government’s Clinic Finder (healthdirect.gov.au).

The TGA and ATAGI are also assessing the Moderna vaccine for children 6-11 years of age, with advice expected over the coming weeks.

No, the dose of the Pfizer vaccine given to children aged 5-11 will be one third of the dose given to those aged 12 and over.

Children who turn 12 after their first dose may receive the adolescent/adult formation of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine to complete their primary vaccine course. It is recommended that they receive the paediatric formation as their first dose.

The TGA and ATAGI are reviewing additional clinical evidence and safety data from clinical trials of mRNA vaccines in children aged 5-11 years and real-world data from the United States (US) vaccine rollout in this age group.

In the clinical Pfizer trial, which included 3,100 children, there were no vaccine safety concerns and no serious side effects detected.

The vaccines are already being administered to children aged 5-11 years in the US, with roughly 5 million children having already received their first dose. Programs are commending in Canada, in Europe, Israel and elsewhere.

After their vaccination, children will be monitored for at least 15 minutes to make sure they are OK. Children with a history of anaphylaxis will be monitored for 30 minutes.

If you have specific questions or concerns for your child, you should speak to your local GP or healthcare provider.

Yes.

The TGA and ATAGI are reviewing available clinical evidence and safety data from clinical trials of mRNA vaccines in children aged 5-11 years and real-world data from the US vaccine rollout in this age group.

AusVaxSafety conducts ongoing, thorough vaccine safety surveillance in the Australian community.

Yes.

There is no evidence to suggest that children with a disability are more likely to suffer adverse effects from vaccination than other children.

The vaccine rollout in Victoria will include accessible options and supports for children who may have mild anxiety about vaccination or minor behavioural issues, as well as children with developmental disabilities, autism and/or sensory issues.

There will also be services available for children with more severe needle phobia.

Like any other medicine, all vaccines can have side effects.

Children can experience common and expected side effects after the Pfizer vaccine, such as a sore arm, headache and fatigue. These usually only need treatment with paracetamol, and children rarely need to see a doctor for treatment.

More serious side effects are very rare.

There are no concerns about long-term safety of the mRNA vaccines in children, with the majority of reported side effects after vaccination occurring early – within the first 6-8 weeks.

The Victorian Government’s Coronavirus website has more information about possible vaccine side effects.

You can also find out more about the Pfizer vaccine.

Children who are vaccinated will receive direct protection against COVID-19.

While children and young people are less likely than adults to get severe symptoms if they contract COVID-19, some can still get very sick – this includes children with certain pre-existing conditions, such as obesity, Down syndrome, or cerebral palsy.

Some children and adolescents can also develop chronic symptoms more than one or two months after COVID infection. This is called Long COVID.

Children can transmit COVID-19, but vaccination will help prevent them transmitting the virus to other children and older age groups, including family members who may be at higher risk, such as grandparents.

Vaccinating younger children also means there is less chance of school closures in future. This will help children to have more face-to-face learning, play time, engaging in different activities, and being with their friends

It is very important to remember that no one should not attend a vaccination hub if:

  • they have COVID-19 symptoms
  • they are a close contact, or
  • have been told to isolate.

Even if a person has a booked appointment, they should NOT attend a vaccination hub if they have even slight symptoms and instead should get tested and isolate. This includes children aged 5-11.