Australia vaccine rollout: 1 million Moderna doses for children aged 12-17

One million more doses of the Moderna vaccine are incoming from Europe, as Australia looks to start vaccinating a new group.

Children as young as 12 will get access to Moderna’s coronavirus vaccine from Monday and the supply will be boosted by a million new doses from Europe.

The Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI) has recommended the Moderna jab for people aged 12-59 and those people will be able to access the vaccine through pharmacies.

The one million extra doses were sourced from European Union member states, the Prime Minister said.

“Families will now be able to go along together to their pharmacy to get their vaccinations,” Scott Morrison said.

The extra Moderna vials were surplus doses originally destined for Spain, the Czech Republic, Portugal and Bulgaria.

They were secured by Australian diplomats working closely with counterparts at the European Commission and in Sweden and Norway, the Prime Minister’s office said in a press release.

“I want to thank Moderna for their support to these arrangements, as well as Norway and Sweden who have helped facilitate this deal over the course of these last few weeks,” Mr Morrison told reporters on Sunday.

While the ATAGI advice says children as young as 12 can begin rolling up their sleeves for Moderna jabs as soon as Monday, the European delivery won’t arrive at pharmacies for another few weeks.

More than 3600 pharmacies across the country will share the doses, with half receiving their doses through the week beginning September 20.

The rest of the pharmacies will receive their doses “shortly after”.

Some of the doses will be earmarked for Victoria, Mr Morrison said.

The jabs will have to be cleared by the Therapeutic Goods Administration before they can be delivered into arms.

The Moderna jab uses the same modern science as the Pfizer product, mRNA, to prevent serious illness from the coronavirus.

The “m” in the acronym stands for messenger and RNA is ribonucleic acid, which is present in human cells.

The vaccines use the messenger’s information to teach cells how to make spike protein, which is then recognised by the body as foreign, prompting it to build an immune response.

That response then comes in handy if the vaccine recipient is infected with coronavirus because the body already knows how to protect against it.

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