Vaccine approved for at-risk Australians younger than five amid Covid surge


Canberra, Aug 3 (IANS): At-risk Australian children as young as six months will be eligible for coronavirus vaccines from September as the country continues to battle against the wave of Omicron sub-variant infections.

Health Minister Mark Butler on Wednesday announced the federal government has accepted the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunization’s recommendation that Moderna’s vaccine be made available to children with an elevated risk of severe illness from Covid.

From September 5, approximately 70,000 children aged six months to under five years who are severely immunocompromised, have a disability or complex health conditions will be able to receive their first vaccine dose, Xinhua news agency reported quoting the minister.

Two doses are recommended eight weeks apart, except for the severely immunocompromised who will require three primary doses.

Australia on Wednesday reported more than 40,000 new COVID-19 infections and more than 60 deaths.

It takes the nation’s total pandemic death toll past 12,000.

As of Tuesday afternoon, a total of 9,476,160 cases of COVID-19 have been reported in Australia, including approximately 335,069 active cases, according to the latest data from the Department of Health.

There were 5,002 cases being treated in Australian hospitals on Tuesday, including 184 in intensive care units.

A report published by the Productivity Commission on Wednesday partly blamed the pandemic for the slowest productivity growth in 60 years.

“Australian productivity growth is at its lowest rate in 60 years. This broad-based slowdown has been observed across advanced economies,” said the report.

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