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03 August 2022

RACGP welcomes children vaccine announcement

The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP) has welcomed the federal Government’s decision to make a Moderna COVID-19 vaccine available to young Australian children.

From 5 September, certain at-risk children aged 6 months to under 5 years at higher risk of developing severe illness from the virus will be eligible to receive the vaccine. This includes children who are immunocompromised, those with a disability, as well as children who have complex and/or multiple health conditions which increase the risk of COVID-19.

RACGP President Adj. Professor Karen Price said it was another positive step forward in the COVID-19 vaccine rollout.

“This is promising news for Australian families,” he said.

“With tens of thousands of new COVID-19 cases emerging every day in communities across Australia, including in children aged 6 months to five years, it could not come at a better time. Once again, I remind everyone that all the COVID-19 vaccines are extremely safe and effective and will significantly reduce the incidence of people suffering severe effects from the virus, including hospitalisation or worse.”

The RACGP President warned that practices delivering COVID-19 vaccines needed more assistance

“This latest announcement is good news, but it will add another layer of work for practices who have put their hands up to help deliver these vaccines,” she said.

“Please be patient and don’t all rush forward at once making immediate demands for the vaccine from your usual GP. Initial supplies will be arriving in Australia later this week and given the relatively small size of the cohort to be vaccinated it is likely only a small number of practices will deliver this vaccine.

“These clinics will be identified on the Vaccine Clinic Finder and bookings will open later this month, so please be patient and respectful towards general practice staff because even if they are one of the vaccination sites they won’t be able to accommodate your child right away. In terms of children under five who aren’t yet eligible, the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation, or ATAGI, will continue to monitor the evidence.

“This latest announcement is yet another reminder that practices need more support from government. We are already flat out delivering COVID-19 vaccines and influenza vaccines as well as delivering care to people who have delayed consultations and screenings during the pandemic. It is important to keep in mind too that delivering vaccines to children, particularly young children, is more time intensive and complicated compared to adults.

“If we are to continue as the backbone of the vaccine rollout, we really need more support from the new Government. Many practices are having enormous difficulty absorbing the cost of taking part in the rollout. We didn’t sign up to make money but at the end of the day we must make ends meet because no one benefits when a practice has to shut up shop or drop out of the vaccine rollout.

“That is why once again the RACGP urges the Government to step up and provide more funding for practices. If that occurs, practices will be able to run more after-hours and weekend vaccination clinics and get more vaccines in arms as soon as possible for our kids.”

Media enquiries

Journalists and media outlets seeking comment and information from the RACGP can contact:

John Ronan

Senior Media Advisor