The Therapeutic Goods Administration has officially approved Australia’s first COVID-19 vaccine, according to reports, meaning frontline hotel quarantine workers could be getting the injection – dubbed the Pfizer jab – in no more than a few weeks.
Once the vaccine is given to those most at risk to the vaccine, it will be available for teenagers over the age of 16 and adults, staring next month.
So what’s the deal? Is it safe? When is it happening? We break it down for you below.
Who will get the vaccination first?
Frontline workers and health workers will be the first to be vaccinated. Aged care staff, seniors and other vulnerable communities will then follow suit.
Why was it only approved now?
The two-dose regimen could not be imported into Australia until it was approved by the TGA. It can now be shipped from overseas following the approval.
“The TGA has granted provisional approval to Pfizer Australia Pty Ltd for its COVID-19 vaccine, COMIRNATY, making it the first COVID-19 vaccine to receive regulatory approval in Australia,’’ a statement read.
“Following a thorough and independent review of Pfizer’s submission, the TGA has decided that this vaccine meets the high safety, efficacy and quality standards required for use in Australia.”
Will there be any side effects?
Short answer: no. The TGA has said that their review process of the vaccine was “rigorous and of the highest standard” and that careful monitoring of the vaccine and any side effects will continue as the rollout commences.
“The decision to provisionally approve the vaccine was also informed by expert advice from the Advisory Committee on Vaccines (ACV), an independent committee with expertise in scientific, medical and clinical fields including consumer representation.
“The TGA will continue to actively monitor the safety of the Pfizer vaccine both in Australia and overseas and will not hesitate to take action if safety concerns are identified.
“As an extra check, the TGA laboratories will undertake batch assessment of each batch of the vaccine before it can be supplied in Australia.”
How many vaccines are we getting?
As it stands, Australia has purchased 10 million doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine.
Will the COVID-19 vaccine be mandatory in Australia?
No, the COVID-19 vaccine will not be mandatory and you will have the the choice not to vaccinate. The vaccine will be available for free to those who wish to be vaccinated
Is it illegal to work in aged care without being vaccinated?
No, the Prime Minister has confirmed the states have agreed it won’t be illegal but it will be “strongly encouraged” for all workers and residents to take the vaccine.
For more information head to health.gov.au.
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