By Juliano Oliveira
The first doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine have arrived in Australia as the initial jabs are set to begin from 22 February.
Over 142,000 doses landed at Sydney airport containing the first shipment of 20 million doses of the Pfizer vaccine. The batch will be analysed and tested by the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA).
“The vaccine has landed, and we’re stepping up our fight against the pandemic,” Prime Minister Scott Morrison said.
“Once the final safety checks are completed, we can start rolling out the vaccine to our most vulnerable Australians and to our frontline border and health workers.”
Quarantine and border employees, and frontline healthcare workers will find approximately 50,000 doses of the Pfizer vaccine available in the first week. Around 30,000 vaccines will be made available to aged care and disability care residents.
The expectation is that at least 60,000 doses will be applied by the end of February. Phase 1 is awaited to be delivered within six weeks through hospital ‘hubs’ across Australia and residential aged care and disability care facilities.
“While we’re taking the time to get the rollout right, I am confident all Australians who wish to be vaccinated against COVID-19 will receive a vaccine this year,” the PM said.
To keep a consistent supply and sufficient stock for second doses, the Government will provision 60,000 vaccines to be administered 21 days after the first shot.
“Australians can be reassured this vaccine has gone through rigorous, independent testing by the Therapeutic Goods Administration to ensure it is safe, effective, and manufactured to a high standard,” Minister for Health and Aged Care Greg Hunt said.
“These vaccines will now go through further batch testing to further check for quality and efficacy, ensuring all Australians have confidence in the vaccines they receive.”