Australia Approves Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine for Use

Australia has approved the COVID-19 vaccine developed by Pfizer-BioNTech on Jan. 25, making it the first COVID-19 vaccine to receive a regulatory approval in the country.

Australia has approved the COVID-19 vaccine developed by Pfizer-BioNTech on Jan. 25, making it the first COVID-19 vaccine to receive a regulatory approval in the country.

The Therapeutic Goods Administration has granted “provisional approval” for individuals aged 16 and older to receive the vaccine, following an independent review and deciding that it “meets the high safety, efficacy, and quality standards required for use in Australia.”

“Today’s approval is another big step forward for our community, particularly in the protection of our most vulnerable people,” Prime Minister Scott Morrison said.

The government aims to start its mass vaccination campaign in late February with around 80,000 doses per week.

According to Health Minister Greg Hunt, Australia has secured 140 million doses of the vaccine.

Hunt also said that the government is still finalizing the vaccine distribution sites with the states and territories.

The Australian Vaccination Strategy is divided into a total of five phases determined by who would received the vaccine first, as posted in government websites.

“The priority groups have been determined based on the advice of the Australian Technical Advisory Group on immunization which oversees Australia’s highly successful immunization program,” the government stated.

Priority groups falling under Phase 1a include quarantine and border workers, frontline healthcare workers, and aged care and disability residents and staff. The government aims for up to 1.4 million doses for this phase.

However, Morrison also warned that the vaccine “is not a silver bullet because there are still limitations to what these vaccines can do.”

“It doesn’t mean that the masks disappear if that is what the public health arrangements are in a particular state or territory or the quarantine arrangements for return into Australia will end or anything like this,” Morrison said at a press conference.


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