Pfizer vaccine approved for Australian use
The Pfizer vaccine has been approved for use in Australia today, with the Therapeutic Goods Administration finding it “safe and effective”.
Scott Morrison announced the news this morning, calling the approval a “big step” in the fight against coronavirus.
“Australians should take confidence in the thorough and careful approach taken by our world-class safety regulator,” he said.
“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.”
The TGA approval is for people 16 years and older, with two doses needed per person at least 21 days apart.
A priority group of Australians, including front line health workers and the elderly, are expected to receive their first dose as soon as it can be received.
The rollout will begin across 30 to 50 hospital sites, before extending to GP’s and even pharmacies in the future.
The vaccine is the first to get the green light in Australia and begin rollout in late February, a few weeks later than planned because of supply issues across the world.
If there are delays in shipping or production, the rollout could begin in early March.
Minister for Health Greg Hunt said the TGA process was “thorough” and placed Australian safety “above all else”.
“We are in the fortunate position of having secured 140 million doses of vaccine, one of the highest per capita rates in the world,” he said.
“We will continue to review the medical advice and monitor and adapt to developments around the world,”
Head of the TGA Adjunct Professor John Skerritt said the review for potential approval of other vaccines, such as AstraZeneca and Novavax vaccines, would continue.
Mr Morrison said the Australian-response to COVID-19 overall was the “better than almost any other country in the world”.
He said Australia had dealt with coronavirus “better than almost any other country in the world”.
“You have put us in a situation that is the envy of most countries in the world today,” he said.
However, he warned the vaccine would “not be a silver bullet”.
“It important to understand that once the vaccine starts, that doesn't mean you can jump on a plane to Bali the next day, it doesn't mean that the masks disappear,” he said.
“This will build, it will start at small scale, it will build up and it will happen over a period of time as we have outlined over the course of this year.
“Of itself, it is not a silver bullet because there are still limitations to what these vaccines can do.”
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