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Moderna Says Australia Removed Paediatric Vaccine Due to Shortages

Moderna Says Australia Removed Paediatric Vaccine Due to Shortages

Moderna says its decision to remove a paediatric vaccine from Australia was due to stock shortages.

In comments emailed to The Epoch Times, Moderna Australia said that while the country’s pharmaceutical governing body, the Therapeutic Goods Administration, had provisionally approved the drug for use in children less than six years of age, the supply was exhausted.

“In line with current ATAGI guidelines in Australia, Moderna is focused on the ongoing supply of updated and targeted booster vaccines for people aged 12 years and older,” the company said.

“Moderna will continue to engage with vaccine advisory bodies regarding vaccine recommendations for Australians.”

They also noted that their vaccine formula was still widely available in Australia.

COVID-19 Vaccines No Longer Recommended for Healthy Australian Children Under 5

The comments come after health authorities in Australia quietly removed Moderna’s paediatric COVID-19 vaccine for children five years and under, with both options offered by the company now no longer available.

This follows the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI) decision to no longer recommend COVID-19 vaccines for individuals under five unless they have one of seven specific high-risk medical conditions that could place them in heightened-risk categories for severe COVID-19.

Three vials of the “Moderna COVID-19 Vaccine” at a new COVID-19 vaccination center at the “Velodrom” (velodrome-stadium) in Berlin, Germany, on Feb. 17, 2021. (Michael Sohn/Pool/Getty Images)

The seven conditions include severe primary or secondary immunodeficiency, including those undergoing treatment for cancer or those on immunosuppressive treatments; bone marrow or stem cell transplant or chimeric antigen T-cell (CAR-T) therapy; complex congenital cardiac disease, structural airway anomalies or chronic lung disease, type 1 diabetes mellitus, chronic neurological or neuromuscular conditions or a disability with significant or complex health needs.

“ATAGI does not currently recommend vaccination for children aged 6 months to <5 years who are not in the above risk categories for severe COVID-19.  These children have a very low likelihood of severe illness from COVID-19,” the advisory body said.

Moderna Vaccine Only Gave Modest Protection: ATAGI

In justifying its change of advice, the health authority said that there was a very low risk of severe COVID-19 in healthy children aged six months to less than five years.

“This age group is one of the least likely age groups to require hospitalisation due to COVID-19. Among the small number who are hospitalised or who die due to COVID-19, underlying medical conditions or immunocompromise are frequently present,” ATAGI said.

They also noted that the age cohort had a relatively low rate of paediatric inflammatory multisystem syndrome (PIMS-TS) following COVID-19 compared to other older children, and this further declined with the Omicron variant compared to ancestral SARS CoV-2 strains.

Further, the health advisory group noted that a clinical trial of 5,500 children aged six months up to five years demonstrated that the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine provided only modest protection against infection, while safety data reported patterns of vaccine-related adverse events.

Children wait in line to receive their first shot of the COVID-19 vaccine in Vienna, Austria, on Nov. 15, 2021. (Joe Klamar/AFP via Getty Images)

“Up to one in four children in this age group had a fever following vaccination with Moderna vaccine, with higher rates seen in those with a history of previous COVID-19,” they said.

“As fever in this age group can sometimes result in medical review and/or investigations and occasionally trigger a febrile convulsion, the side effect profile for this vaccination needs to be considered in the risk-benefit discussion.”

Additionally, the health authorities also changed their advice on COVID-19 booster shots for those 18 and under, with the body now recommending that children and adolescents aged under 18 years who do not have any risk factors for severe COVID-19 should not receive a booster shot.

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