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Children urged to ditch devices for sport

By Emily Woods and Cassandra Morgan
PM Scott Morrison's sports program would include students in years 9 and 10 if he is re-elected. (AAP)

Australian children are being urged to get off their devices and back on to sporting fields as the country heads into the new COVID normal.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison on Saturday pledged another $20 million for the Sporting Schools program, which would see it expanded to include up to 700,000 students in years 9 and 10 if his government is re-elected.

Mr Morrison said no-one in Australia has done it tougher through the pandemic than the children of Victoria.

"They're looking forward; they're putting that behind them and they know the opportunities that are ahead," he told media in Melbourne's outer east.

"The competition is on, they're playing sport again, they're with their mates, they're at school, they're getting life back to normal - it's exciting.

"The country is in a very similar position."

Mr Morrison said Australia was heading into a time of great opportunity, and he and the government were shifting gears to secure them.

"We need to get (children) off those phones and get them on the field," he said.

"They can have fun with their devices ... but we want them out there running around.

"We are moving into a golden decade of major events for sport in this country."

Victoria endured more than 260 days in lockdown throughout the COVID-19 pandemic; more than any other state in Australia.

Lockdowns in other states and territories are also hit the sporting sector hard, with cancellations of major events and community sport through the pandemic.

The Victorian government also announced on Saturday another $12.3 million to continue its "Get Active Kids" voucher program through to June 2023.

The program grants parents and carers $200 vouchers to put towards their children's community sport costs.

Meanwhile, a COVID-19 vaccine for babies and toddlers is another step closer after Australian regulators confirmed they are evaluating a low dose of Moderna's Spikevax.

There are currently no COVID-19 vaccines approved for children under four, with kids aged five and over given the Pfizer jab.

Spikevax is available for children over six and Moderna Australia has applied to the Therapeutic Goods Administration to extend it to younger children.

The TGA on Friday confirmed it is assessing using a low dose of Spikevax, 25 micrograms in 0.25ml, for children aged between six-months and five-years-old.

That is below the 50 micrograms in 0.25ml measurement that is currently used for children aged six to 11.

Spikevax, an mRNA vaccine, uses a genetic code to enable the production of the coronavirus spike protein.

Immune cells then recognise the spike protein as foreign and begin building an immune response against it.

LATEST 24-HOUR COVID-19 DATA:

NSW: 10,954 cases, 19 deaths, 1377 in hospital, 58 in ICU

VIC: 12,160 cases, 22 deaths, 524 in hospital, 24 in ICU

TAS: 925 cases, no deaths, 39 in hospital, one in ICU

QLD: 6130 cases, five deaths, 414 in hospital, 12 in ICU

ACT: 1001 cases, no deaths, 71 in hospital, five in ICU

WA: 13,162 cases, two deaths, 292 in hospital, 10 in ICU

NT: 278 cases, no deaths, 18 in hospital, no one in ICU

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Dive Deeper:
TGA evaluates baby COVID-19 vaccine
Australian regulators are investigating whether a low dose of Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine can be given to children aged from six-months…
Sports take centre stage as lockdowns end
Prime Minister Scott Morrison says Australia is moving into a “golden decade” of major sporting events as pandemic lockdowns rapidly…
The Daily Biotech Pulse: FDA Orphan Drug Tags For Neurocrine, Editas Candidates; Sale of BridgeBio's PRV; RMAT Designation For PolarityTE's Product
Here's a roundup of top developments in the biotech space over the last 24 hours:
Experts attribute Victoria's COVID-19 rate rise to change in weather, waning immunity
For the past week, the number of people catching coronavirus in Victoria has climbed, with a similar rise in the…
One subscription that gives you access to news from hundreds of sites
Active COVID case numbers rise, hospitalisations remain high
There are 1217 new COVID cases in the ACT.
Dip in reported COVID-19 cases but hospitalisation remains high
ACT Health reported no deaths of people with COVID-19 on Sunday.
Get all your news in one place