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Wednesday, 3 August 2022
Page: 474

Senator McCARTHY (Northern TerritoryAssistant Minister for Indigenous Australians and Assistant Minister for Indigenous Health) (13:52): I take this opportunity, in the few minutes I have to speak, to thank our health workers and clinicians across the country who keep us focused on the fact that we are still in a pandemic. In particular, I want to reach out to our Aboriginal community health sector, who are still sending the message across the remote and regional areas of the country, in all sorts of languages of First Nations people, to reiterate the importance of staying safe, being safe and making sure that they are still listening to the requirements in order to keep safe.

Today, the Albanese government accepted a recommendation from the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation, ATAGI, to make a Moderna COVID-19 vaccine available to children from six months old to under five years old in certain at-risk population groups. The primary goal of the Australian COVID-19 vaccine program is to minimise the risk of severe disease, including hospitalisation and death from COVID-19. We are now some years into this pandemic, and one of the things I've heard constantly from health clinicians is the sense of weariness, tiredness and exhaustion. We need to keep going, and that's why it's important that here in the Senate and in the House we continue to acknowledge the ongoing work of those clinicians who are still trying to keep Australians safe.

Around 70,000 young children at high risk of developing severe illness from COVID-19 will be able to receive a vaccination from 5 September this year. The Albanese government has secured 500,000 doses of the specific vaccine for this age group, and initial supplies will be arriving in Australia later this week.