The Pfizer vaccine has now been approved for use on Australians aged 16 and over, another major milestone in the potential recovery of Australia’s aviation industry.
Australia’s medical regulator, the Therapeutic Goods Administration, has officially approved the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine for use in Australia.
The TGA said it conducted a thorough and independent review of Pfizer’s submission, before ultimately determining that the vaccine met the high safety, efficacy and quality standards required for approval.
The approval has been noted as ‘provisional’, meaning it is currently only valid for two years.
However due to supply chain issues, Prime Minister Scott Morrison has said the intended roll-out date of mid-February has been pushed out to mid-to-late February.
“We’re more looking at late February than mid-February now because of the challenges we have seen in the production and delivery for both AZ [AstraZeneca] and Pfizer around the world,” he said.
Along with the announcement of its delayed rollout, Mr Morrison welcomed the news of the approved vaccine, and stated Australians should “take confidence” in the TGA’s “thorough and careful approach”.
“Our priority has always been to keep Australians safe and protect lives and livelihoods,” Mr Morrison said. “Today’s approval is another big step forward for our community, particularly in the protection of our most vulnerable people.”
Health Minister Greg Hunt announced that the initial rollout in February would involve 80,000 jabs per week, “if not more”.
However, the Health Department Secretary Brendan Murphy stated that Australia will face “major logistical issues” in its intentions to vaccine the Australian population, as have other countries around the world, as the vaccine is required to be transported and stored at minus 70 degrees.
It is yet to be announced what role Australian airlines will play in the rollout of the vaccine, however it is assumed to be a significant one.
Australia has currently purchased 10 million doses of the Pfizer vaccine.
The vaccine manufacturer’s chief executive Dr Albert Bourla has said the vaccine was “90 per cent effective” and would “help bring an end to this global health crisis”.
Since the beginning of the pandemic, aviation industry leaders have suspected that a COVID-19 vaccine will be required before meaningful recovery can be seen in greater domestic and international travel markets.