Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison has announced the formal approval of the Pfizer COVID vaccine by the Therapeutic Goods Association (TGA) today (25 January), coinciding with the one-year anniversary of Australia’s first recorded COVID-case.
The Prime Minister praised the nation for its COVID response and said Australia was largely the envy of the world.
“Today marks the one-year anniversary of Australia’s first case,” Prime Minister Morrison said.
“And what an extraordinary year it has been.
“Thank you, Australia.
“This is a global challenge; unlike anything we have seen in a very, very long time.
“We can take nothing for granted.”
The Prime Minister said the national regulator had approved the Pfizer vaccine through its ordinary formal process, rather than an emergency process as has occurred in some other countries.
He said Australia remained on track to have the vaccines in Australia and ready to go, “from very small beginnings” by late February rather than mid-February as previously thought, due to world-wide supply chain challenges.
He said the vaccine rollout would then be scaled up as the local production increased.
“We didn’t want to be completely reliant on overseas production,” the Prime Minister said.
“And yes, we paid a premium for that.”
Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt said today’s formal approval from the TGA was another “very important step forward” and the one-year anniversary of Australia’s first case was a day worthy of a “brief reflection of the journey”.
Mr Hunt said the world had already lost 2.1 million lives, but he believed the real figure was much higher.
“In Australia, we’ve had our seventh consecutive day of zero community transmission, and we have zero Australians in ICU or on ventilation machines.”
Mr Hunt said the TGA had approved the Pfizer vaccines for Australians 16 years and older and was one of the earliest countries in the world to give a full approval.
He said the Oxford AstraZeneca vaccine would commence in early March, subject to TGA approval, after which domestic production will see approximately one million vaccines made available per week, from late March.
Mr Hunt said both Pfizer and Oxford had seen world supply issues challenges.
He said the two most important Government decisions of the pandemic were to close the border to China and to secure locally produced vaccines.
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