The third booster shot can now be administered six months after completing the first two-dose vaccination regime.
The Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) has said that the third Pfizer booster shot can be given to people even if their first two doses were any of the other registered COVID-19 vaccines: AstraZeneca or Moderna.
However, the TGA has said data on the use of the Pfizer shot as a booster with AstraZeneca or Moderna was limited.
The regulator also said that people who have completed two doses of Pfizer’s COMIRNATY vaccine should preferably receive the Pfizer booster dose.
The Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI) will soon provide the government with further advice on the use of the boosters.
According to Courier Mail, Prime Minister Scott Morrison told the Today show the government has been “working steadfastly” on the booster program for some time.
He said the national cabinet would discuss the matter next week.
“We will be starting with those in aged care facilities like we did with the vaccine.
“We will be looking at [how] … the states will be keeping a fair bit of their infrastructure in place to deliver that.
“We will obviously be leaning heavily on the primary health network, on pharmacists and GPs who have done the heavy lifting on getting these vaccination rates which … are higher than the UK,” he said.
Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt said the booster program would make Australia one of the most highly vaccinated countries in the world.
“We want to encourage every Australian that is eligible to continue to come forward and complete their primary course and when they are due six months plus to come forward for their boosters,” Hunt said.
People aged 12 and over who are severely immunocompromised may also be given a third dose at least 28 days after the second dose, per ATAGI advice, according to a statement by the TGA.
“TGA provisionally approved the booster dose following careful evaluation of the available data supporting safety and efficacy,” a TGA release said. “The TGA’s decision was also informed by expert advice from the Advisory Committee on Vaccines, an independent committee with scientific, clinical and consumer representation.”
The Pfizer booster has also received emergency authorisation or regulatory approval in the United States, Europe, and United Kingdom.
“The TGA continues to work very closely with international regulators to harmonise regulatory approaches, share information and where it speeds up evaluation, collaboratively review COVID-19 vaccines and treatments,” the TGA release said.