On Monday 25 January, the Government announced provisional approval of the Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine for use in Australia for people over 16 years. This registration means Pfizer’s vaccine has met the Therapeutic Good Administration’s (TGA) strict standards.
Just like any other drug, vaccine or therapeutic device, any approved COVID-19 vaccines will have passed through the TGA’s rigorous assessments for quality, safety and effectiveness.
The TGA also has the necessary systems in place to carefully watch for adverse events after vaccination. It is actively monitoring COVID-19 vaccine development both in Australia and around the world, and is also part of a network of international regulators that meet regularly to discuss the development of COVID-19 vaccines.
Your members and your communities can be confident that no shortcuts have been made regarding safety and approvals.
How will the vaccine be distributed?
The Australian Government is working closely with state and territory governments, the National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (NACCHO) and state-based affiliates, and the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Advisory Group on COVID-19 to ensure COVID-19 vaccines are easily accessible to everyone, including remote communities.
Planning is well underway to support access and delivery of TGA-approved COVID-19 vaccines to protect everyone in Australia. Government departments and peak organisations across jurisdictions are working cooperatively. Rest assured, we’re moving as swiftly and safely as possible.
The Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine will be managed through 30 to 50 key hospitals across urban, regional and rural Australia. Distribution to residential aged care and disability care facilities will be managed through a Commonwealth vaccination workforce in-reach program.
If the University of Oxford/AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine is approved by the TGA, this is expected to occur in the coming weeks. This vaccine will progressively be distributed through more sites, including Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Community Controlled Health Services, general practice clinics, existing Commonwealth GP respiratory clinics, state-run vaccination clinics and pharmacies.
The number of doses required depends on the vaccine. Currently, the advice is that both the Pfizer/BioNTech and University of Oxford/AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines require two doses.
More information about the above approach is outlined in:
- the Australian COVID-19 Vaccination Policy
- the COVID-19 Vaccines National Roll-out Strategy
- Patient information on AstraZeneca vaccine and thrombosis with thrombocytopenia syndrome – new document
- Preparing for your COVID-19 vaccination
- AstraZeneca vaccine information sheet
- After your AstraZeneca vaccine
- Pfizer vaccine information sheet