Date published: 
27 August 2021
Type: 
News
Intended audience: 
General public
ATAGI statement

This statement was originally published on 27 August 2021, and has now been updated.

The Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI) has previously recommended that adolescents from 12 years of age belonging to the following groups be prioritised for vaccination using Comirnaty (Pfizer): 

  • Individuals with specified underlying risk conditions, including NDIS participants  
  • All Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children  
  • All children in remote communities, as part of broader community outreach vaccination programs.

ATAGI has reviewed the evidence and now supports COVID-19 vaccination in all adolescents from 12 years of age.

Vaccination against COVID-19 is recommended for all people from 12 years of age, extending the current recommendation for those 16 years and older.

A two dose schedule using Pfizer or Spikevax (Moderna) is recommended.  

ATAGI has developed these recommendations following careful consideration of the relevant benefits, risks, uncertainties and evidence on this topic, including: 

  • Safety, efficacy and effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccines in adolescents from clinical trials and overseas vaccination programs
  • Epidemiology of COVID-19 in adolescents including disease severity and complications and their role in transmission in the population
  • The potential for indirect benefits of vaccination, such as on family and adolescent wellbeing and participation in education
  • Evidence of potential acceptance of vaccination in this age group.

ATAGI notes that supply of Pfizer and Moderna remains constrained, and so the timing of inclusion of adolescents in the national COVID-19 vaccination program needs to be balanced against access to vaccine in other populations.

The timing for inclusion of adolescents in the COVID-19 vaccination program may also vary depending on local epidemiology, including outbreaks. It should be noted that there is a delay of 2-3 weeks after receiving a first dose of vaccine to gaining protection from
COVID-19.

Further detail regarding this ATAGI recommendation is available here.