Children aged 5 to 11 who are severely immunocompromised can now receive a third primary dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine.
People who are severely immunocompromised are at higher risk of severe outcomes from COVID-19 and might not produce a sufficiently strong immune response after two doses of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine, the Ministry of Health said in a statement today.
A third primary dose offers extra protection and may help reduce the likelihood of transmitting the virus to others, it said.
The third primary dose for children is optional but has been recommended by the COVID-19 Vaccine Technical Advisory Group.
“Because there are specific criteria for children to qualify for a third primary dose, it’s recommended that parents or guardians schedule an appointment with their health care professional who has access to the child’s medical records to confirm eligibility. Appointments to discuss eligibility are free,” the Ministry said.
A prescription must also be provided by a GP or nurse practitioner before severely immunocompromised children can be given a third primary dose – with prescriptions able to be taken to any vaccination site.
“Your child may also be able to receive the third primary dose at the same time as their consultation, but please check with your prescriber to see if they offer the child Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine.”
The Ministry said the third primary dose should be given eight weeks after the second dose but may be given after four weeks depending on current or planned immunosuppressive therapies. Talk to your child’s GP or specialist for advice on timing.
“It is strongly encouraged that all household contacts of someone who is severely immunocompromised (regardless of their age) are up to date with their recommended COVID-19 vaccines to help provide indirect protection.”
A third primary dose is also being offered to severely immunocompromised children in this age group overseas, including in Australia, the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom.
You can find more information at COVID-19 vaccine: Severely immunocompromised people.