Australia approves Pfizer vaccine with millions of doses soon to arrive

The Therapeutic Goods Administration has approved the Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine in Australia, with the jab set to be rolled out by late February.

The Pfizer vaccine has met strict standards for safety, quality and efficacy, and has been provisionally approved for Australians over 16. 

Two doses will be required – at least 21 days apart.

A priority group of Australians are expected to now receive their first dose of the vaccine as soon as it can be received from Pfizer and the necessary checks are undertaken by the TGA, prior to its distribution.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison said the TGA approval was an important step in the fight against COVID-19.

The Pfizer vaccine has met strict standards for safety, quality and efficacy, and has been provisionally approved for Australians over 16

The Pfizer vaccine has met strict standards for safety, quality and efficacy, and has been provisionally approved for Australians over 16

‘I welcome the TGA’s approval of the Pfizer vaccine, with our own Australian experts finding it is safe, effective and of a high standard,’ the Prime Minister said.

‘Australians should take confidence in the thorough and careful approach taken by our world-class safety regulator.

‘Our priority has always been to keep Australians safe and protect lives and livelihoods. Today’s approval is another big step forward for our community, particularly in the protection of our most vulnerable people.’

HealthMinister Greg Hunt said the world class regulators at the TGA have been working tirelessly to introduce a safe and effective COVID-19 vaccine in Australia.

‘The TGA’s processes are I believe the best in the world and we have ensured that they are thorough.’ Minister Hunt said.

‘The TGA has placed safety above all else.’

The Government continues to work with Pfizer on the final date of delivery of vaccines, noting that Pfizer has experienced some temporary production delays from its European manufacturing plant as it ramps up production to meet extraordinary global demand.  

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg insists Australia is still on track to receive the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine from February.

Final dates will be confirmed by Pfizer shortly and are subject to shipping and distribution. 

In Australia the vaccine will be rolled out in five phases over the coming months and, over time, will involve more than 1,000 vaccination administration sites.

Mr Hunt believes new immunisation figures show Australians have faith in the TGA to provide expert advice and ensure the safety and efficacy of all vaccines provided to the community.

Immunisation rates for five-year-olds are now beyond the aspirational target of 95 per cent coverage, reaching 95.09 per cent in the December quarter of 2020 and exceeding the World Health Organisation estimated international average of 86 per cent.

‘Reaching our target of 95 per cent supports herd immunity to stop the spread of vaccine-preventable diseases,’ Mr Hunt said in a statement on Sunday.

‘These figures show Australians have both the capacity and the will to lead the world in taking up COVID-19 vaccines, as they recognise how important vaccination is, and how it protects and saves lives.’

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children at five years old have the highest rates of immunisation in the country at 97.25 per cent.

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