Australia has approved the coronavirus vaccine by Pfizer and BioNTech, announced Prime Minister Scott Morrison.
“The Therapeutic Goods Administration has today provisionally approved the Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine for use in Australia. This is an important step in our fight against this terrible virus,” Morrison wrote in a tweet.
According to a statement by the Prime Minister’s office, the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) has today provisionally approved the Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine for use in Australia.
“The Pfizer vaccine has met strict standards for safety, quality, and efficacy. The TGA provisional approval is for individuals 16 years of age and older. Two doses will be required – at least 21 days apart,” the statement read.
A priority group of Australians is 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.
If there are delays in shipping or production, the possibility remains that commencement could be in early March, however, guidance remains for late February, the statement read further.
Morrison said the TGA approval was an important step in the fight against COVID-19.
Minister for Health 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,” Hunt said.
“The TGA has placed safety above all else…. Australia’s high bar has been met; the vaccine has been approved as effective in stopping severe disease. I thank all those involved in the development and assessment of this COVID-19 vaccine, including the researchers, Pfizer, BioNTech, and the medical experts at the TGA who have worked around the clock and over Christmas,” he added.
“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,” he said
The statement said that 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.
The Government’s latest advice remains that the first doses of Pfizer are expected to arrive and be rolled out in late 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.
As per the latest updates by Johns Hopkins University, Australia has reported 28,777 COVID-19 cases so far.