The Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) has granted provisional approval of the Pfizer vaccine one year after Australia confirmed its first case of COVID-19, the disease caused by the CCP virus.
It is the first to receive regulatory approval in Australia. Two doses at least 21 days apart will be required, with aged care and disability residents and workers, frontline healthcare staff, as well as quarantine and border employees at the front of the queue.
The target of vaccinating four million people by late March has been pushed back to early April, with suppliers’ global commitments affecting the rollout speed.
“There will be swings and roundabouts on this process,” Prime Minister Scott Morrison told reporters in Canberra on Monday.
About 80,000 shots are expected to be administered a week during the initial phase before ramping up to one million every seven days.
“Australians can be confident that the TGA’s review process of this vaccine was rigorous and of the highest standard,” the TGA said in a media release on Jan. 25.
The provisional approval is granted for two years. It is strictly conditional on Pfizer continuing to provide information to the TGA on the long term efficacy and safety of the vaccine from ongoing clinical trials and post-market assessments.
As an added safety check, the TGA will test every batch before it can be supplied in Australia. “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,” the TGA said.
Health secretary Brendan Murphy said authorities had closely monitored concerns in Norway, where about 30 elderly people died after receiving the Pfizer jab.
“The TGA advice—and we have been concerned about this—for the very elderly and frail will need a very careful clinical decision,” he said.
A World Health Organisation expert panel found no evidence the vaccine had contributed to the Norwegian deaths. However, it has issued an advisory that pregnant or breastfeeding women should not take the Pfizer vaccine.
Murphy said the government currently is not aware how effective the vaccine will be in preventing transmission of the virus, but data is expected to filter through in the coming months.
One Year After Australia’s First Case
Australia’s first case of the CCP virus, a Wuhan man in his 50s, arrived in Melbourne, Victoria on Jan. 19, 2020, on China Southern Airlines flights CZ321.
At the time, China was dealing with a full-blown epidemic of the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus, commonly known as novel coronavirus. But while the regime banned domestic flights to and from Wuhan, it allowed international flights from Wuhan to the rest of the world.
We now know that by at least mid-December, the Chinese regime was aware that human-to-human transmission was occurring. Yet, the CCP did not admit there was an issue until Jan. 20—one day after Australia’s first case arrived in Melbourne.
In fact, about 5 million people had left Wuhan without being tested, prior to Wuhan being locked down on Jan. 23.
During the early developments of the outbreak, the Chinese regime did not make critical information about the SARS-CoV-19 infection risk public. This meant that Australian authorities did not have border measures when the country’s first case walked into Tullamarine Airport.
By March, Australia had its own frontline against the CCP virus and states and territories implemented lockdown measures to stem the spread—followed by an array of economic measures to cushion the lockdowns’ financial impact.
Since then, there have been over 28,000 confirmed cases in Australia, with more than 25,000 recovering. Nine hundred and nine people have died of COVID-19 in Australia to date.
AAP contributed to this article.