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Australian COVID vaccine now ready to roll out from next month

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Australians are set to start receiving coronavirus vaccinations from next month, following new advice from medical experts and regulators.

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Prime Minister Scott Morrison says he expects coronavirus vaccinations to start in mid-to-late February for the most vulnerable Australians, following fresh advice today.

He said the Therapeutic Goods Administration was expected to receive all of the data it needed from vaccine developer Pfizer in mid-January, with approval due by the end of the month.

“It is moving considerably faster than normal vaccine approval processes but without skipping a step, without cutting a corner,” Morrison told reporters in Canberra.

He said around 80,000 people a week could be vaccinated initially, and hoped as many as four million could have had the jab by the end of March.

“That is a target, that is what we are working to,” he said.

However, it will depend on TGA approval and the delivery of the vaccine from suppliers.

The approval process regarding another vaccine, by AstraZeneca, is due to be completed in February.

Morrison said Pfizer’s global protocols required about two weeks for delivery post-approval.

He anticipated there would be some logistical issues as the vaccine had to be stored at minus-70 degrees Celcius.

After delivery of the vaccines there would be up to a week required for batch testing of the vaccine doses.

The Pfizer vaccine would require a second dose within a couple of weeks to a month.

The first group to be vaccinated through a network of hospitals would be quarantine and border workers, frontline health officials, aged care and disability workers and aged care residents.

-AAP

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