Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said the rollout is still on track for mid-February, as the Medicare Benefits Schedule is confirmed.
Australia’s Therapeutic Goods Administration has approved the country’s first coronavirus vaccine.
The inoculation, from Pfizer, will be available to teens over 16 and adults, with the rollout to begin next month.
Frontline workers and those in healthcare will be vaccinated first, followed by aged care staff, aged care residents and others who are particularly vulnerable.
“The TGA has granted provisional approval to Pfizer Australia Pty Ltd for its COVID-19 vaccine, COMIRNATY, making it the first COVID-19 vaccine to receive regulatory approval in Australia,’’ the regulatory body said in a statement.
“Following a thorough and independent review of Pfizer’s submission, the TGA has decided that this vaccine meets the high safety, efficacy and quality standards required for use in Australia.”
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The federal government has also finalised the Medicare Benefits Schedule for GPs in the rollout of the coronavirus vaccine, making them free to all Australians as promised.
It has been confirmed the jab will be bulk billed, with the hopes that up to 1000 clinics Australia-wide will register to administer the doses. Expressions of interest for general practices opened on Saturday,
The Oxford-AstraZeneca jab will be dispensed by doctors in clinics, while the Pfizer vaccine will be limited to hospitals and specialised areas because it requires specific cold temperature storage.
Both vaccines require two doses to be at their most effective, with each dose administered 21 days apart.
The rollout is “on track” to begin mid-February, Treasurer Josh Frydenberg told reporters on Saturday.
“We are not about to cut corners,” Mr. Frydenberg said, noting that the nation is not in the same position as other countries, such as the US and UK, where cases are still surging.
“We have the virus under control here in Australia. But we do want to roll out the vaccine, that’s why the TGA’s going through its normal processes.”
Vaccine uptake in Australia exceeds global expectations, with around 95 percent of five-year-olds beyond the target of 95 percent coverage.
Health Minister Greg Hunt said this was a good indication adult Aussies have faith in the TGA to ensure vaccine safety and efficacy of all vaccines administered in the country.
“Reaching our target of 95 percent supports herd immunity to stop the spread of vaccine-preventable diseases,” Mr. Hunt said in a statement on Sunday.
“These figures show Australians have both the capacity and the will to lead the world in taking up COVID-19 vaccines, as they recognise how important vaccination is, and how it protects and saves lives.”