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Byron Shire
January 23, 2022

Children aged 5 to 11 eligible for vaccination from Monday and over 500 new cases and one death locally

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NSW Chief Paediatrician Dr Matthew O’Meara: ‘It’s two doses eight weeks apart. We know it’s safe. It’s been tested in 1,000s of children in clinical trials, and millions of doses of first and second doses have been given in other countries. Photo ABC YouTube.

Premier Dominic Perrottet, NSW Health Deputy Secretary Susan Pearce and NSW Chief Paediatrician Dr Matthew O’Meara, appeared at a press conference just after 10am today to announce that children as young as five years of age will be eligible for the COVID-19 vaccination from next Monday.

Dr Matthew O’Meara said that next Monday and through January, children aged five to 11 years of age will be eligible for the Pfizer COVID vaccine. ‘It’s a special formulation that Pfizer vaccine it’s a third of the adult dose, yet that small dose is enough to generate an immune response that’s as strong as a full dose in young adults.

‘We know it’s safe’

‘It’s two doses eight weeks apart. We know it’s safe. It’s been tested in 1,000s of children in clinical trials, and millions of doses of first and second doses have been given in other countries.

‘We know it’s effective. It’s very effective at preventing kids from developing COVID and preventing severe disease and preventing transmission of COVID from one child to another person. We know there are a few side effects and these are mostly minor.

Dr O’Meara said many kids complain of a bit of a sore arm for a day or two afterwards. ‘But the headache muscle aches fever, chills and nausea that we adults have often felt, are really pretty uncommon in children and can get managed with the usual pain-relieving medications.

‘The serious side effects like myocarditis that happen mainly in older teenagers, we haven’t seen in young children, so we think it’s very safe, effective and reliable vaccine.’

Dr O’Meara said parents may be weighing up the risks and the benefits of giving young children a vaccine. ‘We know that COVID is generally a mild disease in children. In fact, many children will have no symptoms at all. And a large number will just have mild symptoms of a cough cold runny nose and fever that lasts for up to five days.

A few children can become very unwell

A few children can become very unwell, and data from earlier strains in largely unvaccinated children in New South Wales showed that between one or two in every 100 children would need to go to hospital and about one in 1,000 would end up in intensive care and about one in 3,000 will develop the series inflammatory condition PIMS-TS after having COVID.

‘We expect those numbers to be lower with the Omicron strain, but it’s still not entirely a benign disease. And while some children are more at risk from a more severe disease, particularly those kids with serious underlying medical problems who are immunosuppressed, who are very young.

COVID can be a severe disease in a small number of children

‘About a third of kids who ended up in hospital didn’t have any risk factors. So COVID can be a severe disease in a small number of children. So it’s worthwhile getting the best protection you can and that’s getting vaccinated.

‘As of today, there are a small number of children in hospital and only a few in intensive care units because of COVID. There are no vaccines for children under five years of age. These are in development around the world and are being tested to make sure they are safe and effective.

Dr O’Meara said the best way of preventing protecting children under five years of age is by everyone else in the family who can get vaccinated to get vaccinated. ‘While we might be thinking COVID vaccine the good idea for kids get themselves may have a bit of hesitancy and caution about getting a vaccine.

Choices for your kids

Dr O’Meara said there are some great tools that can help people prepare for vaccinating their kids.  ‘There’s a lovely video, helping kids with vaccines developed by the Sydney Children’s Hospitals Network to talk about how to explain it in language that safe and gentle but also honest, in helping kids prepare about what’s going to happen.

‘What are the steps we’re going to go through? What’s going to happen to me about using the words that are pitched right for a young child about giving you enough warning about what’s going to happen, but not too much about not sharing too much of her own feelings and hesitancy about needles and vaccines with them that make him feel secure about giving him choices to under the left arm your right arm. Do you want to sit on mom’s lap or do you want to sit on the chair by yourself? Do you want a book or a video? You know or listen to music? And what’s going to make it okay for you to have this done. And then you can think of maybe there’s a small reward that you guys see out afterwards to help make this experience as good as it possibly can be so that whatever happens the child comes away with a positive experience.’

‘There are two vaccines eight weeks apart so try and make the first experience as good as it can be to make the second one even easier.

Dr O’Meara said now is the time to book in for the children’s vaccine. ‘If they’re aged between five and 11. The Health website has got a list of all the GPS, the pharmacies and the vaccine centres.’

Rapid Antigen Tests on the way

Premier Dominic Perrottet:’Obviously, there are issues with the significant lines for PCR testing across the state.’ Photo ABC YouTube.

With today’s reported figures of over 35,000 news cases of COVID-19 in New South Wales, numbers are starting to become redundant as thousands find they are unable to access tests. Premier Perrottet stressed that unless people feel ill or are a household close contact, to not congest the PCR testing queues. ‘Obviously, there are issues with the significant lines for PCR testing across the state. I appreciate very much the patience that everyone is showing in lining up in those queues.

Rest assured

‘Rest assured, we’re doing everything we can to put downward pressure on that system. We have a number of rapid antigen tests arriving as of next week that will significantly assist, but my clear message today is if you are not required to get a PCR test, please do not line up in that queue. Because we need people who are feeling unwell, who are classified close contact that is somebody who is a member of a household of somebody who is positive with COVID or somebody who is advised by New South Wales Health to get that test to be able to get tested and their turnaround time to be improved.

‘I know that many people are showing great patience, it’s a difficult time but we will get through. And once those rapid antigen tests arrive and I’m very much looking forward to the discussion today with the Prime Minister and other state premiers, in relation to the provision of rapid antigen tests from a New South Wales perspective.

‘We will do whatever we can in working with the Commonwealth government, whether that’s through financial support and distribution, or whatever role the state can play. We want to make sure that every single person who needs a rapid antigen test gets one, particularly as we move through this period of time.

‘If we can continue to be patient as we move through this period, if we can continue to treat everybody with kindness and respect, particularly those health workers, particularly those people on the frontline doing that testing, we will ensure that we get through stronger out the other side.

Northern NSW Local Health District

The NNSWLHD says that 576 new cases of COVID-19 were confirmed in the District to 8pm last night, January 4.

Their media release says that sadly, they are reporting the death of 1 person with COVID-19. ‘A man in his 70s died at the Bupa Aged Care Facility in Ballina. He was not vaccinated. NNSWLHD expresses its sincere condolences to their loved ones.’

There are 26 COVID-19 positive patients in hospital in Northern NSW, with 4 of these in ICU.

New cases by LGA

  • Tweed Heads – 240
  • Ballina – 102
  • Byron Shire – 96
  • Clarence Valley – 67
  • Lismore – 43
  • Richmond Valley – 25
  • Kyogle – 3


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  1. How sad that small children susceptible to the influence of ignorant parents and others are being pushed to take something that will place their futures in jeopardy, since it is an experiment.
    Remember Thalidomide.
    Big pHARMa is not to be trusted. They lie and are currently using fear tactics to bankrupt our country. Good news ! Not….

    • Good for you Leanne, my children will also remain prick free.

      Parents might do themselves a favour by watching the deliberations of the expert advisory panel to the US FDA who recommended the jab for 5-11yr olds on 26 October 2021. Video recording can be found easily on-line.

      I find it very odd how some suggest they have done their research, checked everything and are happy to jab children…… when they experts clearly admit they don’t know about short term and ongoing concerns for children. Run towards the flames if you will, I will NOT be forcing my kids to be another statistic in a trial.

      Here’s a few excerpts;

      “…we’re never going to learn about how safe this vaccine is unless we start giving it. That’s just the way it goes. That’s how we found out about rare complications of other vaccines like rotavirus vaccine. And I do think we should vote to approve it. Dr Eric Rubin- New England Journal of Medicine Editor-In-Chief

      “The adult cardiologist say that a late phase uptake as you pointed out, is associated with further complications in life, or as you noted, sudden cardiac failure and death, so my question is, do we have any experience with late phase uptake in children from other types of myocarditis and what sort of a prognosis does that afford us in terms of ah what might be expected and then secondly in adults with have late phase up take, how long is the interval of time before they begin to run into problems with heart failure” Dr Cody Meissner – Tufts Medical Centre Paediatric Infectious Disease Director

      Answer from Dr Michael Nelson – University of Virginia Medical School Professor
      “You have touched on a field that can’t even get all the cariologists in my practice to agree on and it’s definitely a controversial field”

      “It just seems to me that in some ways we are vaccinating children to protect the adults and it should be the other way around. That if 30 million children already have some form of immunity, they have made their contribution to heard immunity already and our focus should be to get the adults vaccinated to protect the children. This is a really tough one for me, but I do believe that children at highest risk do need to be vaccinated, but vaccinating all of the children to achieve that just seems a bit ahh bit much for me. So I’m having some challenges with this one. Dr James Hildreth – Meharry Medical College President & CEO

      “I think the high estimate of myocarditis is probably too conservative, based on the natural history of myocarditis generally being less common in this age group. I will para-phrase Dr Fauci who said “models are what you relay on until you get the data and then you throw out the models” so the models are the best we have at the moment as was just mentioned, we are not going to get the data unless we use this vaccine” Dr Mark Sawyer – Rady’s Children’s Hospital Infectious Disease Specialist

      “We are vaccinating with a prototype spike protein that is no longer circulating and so we have to go to higher and higher levels in order to get efficient potency in terms of neutralisation, everyone is focused on delta right now but delta is on the decline” Dr Michael Kurilla, NIH Division of Clinical Innovation Director

      “I’m just worried that if we say yes, that the states are going to mandate administration of this vaccine to children in order to go to school and I do not agree with that, I think that would be an error at this time until we get more information about the safety” Dr Cody Meissner – Tufts Medical Centre Paediatric Infectious Disease Director

      “We’re worried because this group has not been vaccinated before we’re very worried about side effects which is real and cannot be dismissed” Dr Patrick Moore – University of Pittsburgh Cancer institute Professor

      “Does now vaccinating them with a strain that goes back almost 2 years from the vaccine from the time they are getting the vaccine, does that actually help or hurt their current immune system with regard to ongoing variants. I don’t think we know that, we have no idea” Dr Michael Kurilla – NIH Division of Clinical Innovation Director

      The overwhelmingly high likely hood of survival rate of 99.99% in children, is not a justification for emergency use. Dr Beatrice Setnik – Clinical Pharmacology & Toxicology consultant to pharmaceutical and biotech companies

      I voted yes primarily because I want to make sure the children who really need this vaccine, you know primarily black and brown children in our country, get the vaccine, but to be honest, the best way to protect the health of some kids would be to do nothing at all because they’re going to be just fine. Dr James Hildreth – Meharry Medical College President & CEO

      • Anyone making a decision on behalf of someone else need to be informed. They also need to have their choice respected.

        It’s great if you are advocating informed decision making but a better idea might be to name your source and it’s availability minus the selective quoting from it.

        Parents might also be encouraged to look at their local official deliberations from ATAGI and the TGA. Anyone feeling swamped by all the information and terminology might want to have a chat to their GP – although, with our public health system nearing collapse, they will be pretty busy right now I suspect!

        • Yes if you read again you’ll see I noted the source Liz, Vaccine advisory panel meeting to the US FDA who recommended the jab for 5-11yr olds on 26 October 2021. Video recording of same can be found very easily on-line. Selective quoting from a meeting that runs for 7.5hrs generally helps people cut to the chase, but anyone can to review the context in full at their leisure.
          I recommend you do the same when making statements, a source might add more oomph to your point(s).

          Our local friends at ATAGI and the TGA appear to follow their USA equivalent Dept’s in a lockstep fashion, a bit like how we follow the USA into major events, like wars for example. You know, like the excuse that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction so we would commit the lives of young Australians to help “protect us” from those dastardly weapons that Iraq didn’t actually have.

          Sorry to digress, back to quotes from our Chief Paediatrician, Dr O’Meara. For him to unequivocally state “we know it’s safe” or suggest jabs are “preventing transmission”, while the CDC in the US have stated the jab no longer stops transmission from Delta variant onwards and especially while data flow from the trials is in embryonic stage, is nothing short of reckless.
          Sadly the risk of the virus has been amplified while the risks associated with the jab have been down played as “safe and effective”.

          I get their are unknowns regarding long covid, but wearing my risk hat again for a minute, I can remain prick-free and take on the risks associated with Covid (short, long or otherwise) whilst having no risk from adverse jab reactions or I could get the jab and have both sets of risk. I remain happy with my odds and a single set of risks at the minute. My jabbed friends here locally, about 80% of them, have come down with heavy flu symptoms after testing positive, whilst a few jab free friends have caught it and have only had mild covid symptoms to date. Go figure.

          Time and non-vested interests will be better at revealing facts than you and me I suggest. We shall see.

          • Steve, yes I saw where you named your source – that wasn’t my point.

            Vaccination for the 5-12 group Is a complex decision. My suggestion was that selective interpretation and quotation from the unqualified should not intrude into the process. Especially the ones who think that observations of one’s circle of friends constitutes robust scientific data.

            Talking of sources, I have asked you before to identify the source of your reference to the CDC’s supposed pronouncement on the total ineffectiveness of vaccines on transmissibility. I’m yet to see it.

  2. I’m far from the ‘big pharma’ crush but even someone like me finds
    it useful in helping to keep me on the planet. As for the children,
    they deserve their life’s future ten fold plus. I’ve checked & rechecked.
    My great grand-kids will get the jab simply because they’ll need it.

  3. How sad that people who would know sweet FA about the topic attempt to insert their ignorance into the complex deliberations that parents will be weighing up, looking for the best outcomes for their kids.

  4. Up until very recently most of the arguments presented on this forum have been presented from a perspective of actually being detached from the real world . I.e the virus has not been actually affecting many people in our area . Well things have changed … Now the decisions parents make may actually be more than ideologically based … They may actually involve real actual risk . It remains to be seen . But see ,we shall . A very difficult and different decision for any patent to make .


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