The Moderna vaccine for COVID-19 will be made available to some children aged six months to five years in particular risk categories.
Health Minister Mark Butler on Wednesday announced he had accepted the advice of experts to allow the vaccinations, making it one of the first countries in the world to do so.
The rollout of the vaccine will begin on September 5 and will only be available to children who are immunocompromised, those with a disability, or who have complex or multiple health conditions.
These include conditions like severe primary or secondary immunodeficiency, such as those undergoing treatment for cancer.
It also includes children undergoing bone marrow or stem cell transplant therapy, or receiving treatment for complex congenital cardiac disease and chronic lung disease.
The full list of conditions is available on the health department website.
Arrangements have not yet been put in place for people to book vaccinations, but appointments will open in coming weeks.
The recommendation is for two primary doses, except for those who are immunocompromised, who require three jabs.
The recommended interval between each dose is eight weeks.
Mr Butler said advisory body ATAGI did not recommend vaccination for children aged six months to five years who are not in the risk categories for severe COVID-19.
ATAGI says there is a “very low risk” of COVID-19 in healthy children under five.
Mr Butler said it was expected 70,000 children would be eligible for the vaccine.
The government has secured 500,000 doses of the vaccine, with 250,000 of those expected to arrive in the country later on Wednesday.
It’s estimated 175,000 doses would be used as part of the rollout, due to some of the children requiring a third dose.
A targeted information campaign will be rolled out in the lead up to the start of the vaccine’s distribution for parents.
Mr Butler said he expected there would be a large take up of the vaccine among the cohort of children.
“Given there’s quite a cohort here of children who are particularly vulnerable to severe illness, we’re confident that there will be a reasonable uptake,” he said.
“This, obviously, is a matter for parents to decide.”
From December 2021 to mid-June this year, about 350,000 children in the age bracket have contracted COVID, with eight children having died from the virus.
There will be 500 additional primary care locations that will provide the vaccinations for the age group.
National cabinet is expected to meet on Thursday to discuss the pandemic and a range of other health issues.
LATEST 24-HOUR COVID-19 DATA:
NSW: 16,648 cases, 39 deaths, 2288 in hospital with 67 in ICU
Victoria: 9122 cases, six deaths, 743 in hospital with 40 in ICU
Qld: 6399 cases, six deaths, 788 in hospital with 22 in ICU
WA: 4062 cases, four deaths, 404 in hospital with 12 in ICU
SA: 2860 cases, six deaths (between July 26 and August 2), 337 in hospital with 11 in ICU
Tasmania: 892 cases, three deaths, 101 in hospital with seven in ICU
NT: 366 cases, no deaths, 57 in hospital with one in ICU
ACT: 889 cases, one death, 143 in hospital, two in ICU