Australia will need to vaccinate children to stem Delta, warns expert

Australia's roughly five million unvaccinated children will need to receive the coronavirus jab for the country to stem the Delta variant, according to an infectious diseases expert.

Professor Sanjaya Senanayake is the Director of the Department of Infectious Diseases at Canberra Health Services.

He told the Today show this morning that increasing numbers of children are becoming sick with the virus.

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"Definitely children do get very sick with Delta. And the reality is this: children cannot only get infected, they can transmit it as well," he said.

"And, therefore, when we think about immunisation going forward, we do have to think about the five million children who aren't eligible in the current vaccination rollout and see if we can get them vaccinated soon."

Federal and state governments' vaccination targets currently only take into account the eligible population, which is those over the age of 16.

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NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian has flagged a vaccination target of 80 per cent of adults to see lockdowns end and COVID-19 treated more like a seasonal flu, with some ongoing restrictions to remain.

However, if children are to be included in this target, the state's vaccination push would need to include an additional 1.11 million jabs.

This is because 80 per cent of the state's adult population equates to only around 66 per cent of the total population.

In an Australian first, South Australia today moved to make both the Pfizer and AstraZeneca vaccines available to anyone aged over 16.

The two vaccines will be available at state-run clinics in the state from Monday, but younger teenagers and children are still restricted from receiving the jab.

"The studies are actually going on, particularly with those MRNA vaccines like Moderna and Pfizer."

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