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Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine approved for use in Australia
Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison. Source: Beat Magazine
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  • Australia's health regulator has officially approved the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine for use
  • The go-ahead issued by the TGA follows a comprehensive approval process and allows Australians aged 16 years and over to receive the vaccination
  • Vaccinations are expected to begin in late February for priority groups, with two doses required at least 21 days apart
  • These priority groups will include quarantine and border personnel, frontline health workers, aged care and disability staff and residents
  • In addition to the Pfizer vaccine, Australia is expected to have the capacity to produce the AstraZeneca candidate onshore in late March
  • The news follows Panasonic's entry last week into the $22 billion vaccine storage race with its ultra-cold freezer boxes

Australia's health regulator has officially approved the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine for use.

Speaking on Monday, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said the go-ahead issued by the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) follows one of the world's most comprehensive approval processes and allows Australians aged 16 years and over to receive the vaccination.

"Australians should take confidence in the thorough and careful approach taken by our world-class safety regulator," he said.

"Our priority has always been to keep Australians safe and protect lives and livelihoods. Today's approval is another big step forward for our community, particularly in the protection of our most vulnerable people."

Two doses will be required, at least 21 days apart, and inoculations are expected to begin in late February for priority groups at 80,000 doses per week, according to Health Minister Greg Hunt.

These priority groups are expected to include quarantine and border personnel, frontline health workers, aged care and disability staff and residents.

"You don't start what you can't finish, and finishing the job involves two doses," Morrison added.

He noted that a digital system will ensure people receive both doses, but warned that there would be inherit limitations to what the vaccine can do and that the rollout would not guarantee the lifting of border restrictions.

"I welcome the TGA's approval of the Pfizer vaccine, with our own Australian experts finding it is safe, effective and of a high standard," Morrison continued.

In addition to the Pfizer vaccine, Australia is expected to have the capacity to produce the AstraZeneca candidate onshore in late March.

The news follows Panasonic's entry last week into the $22 billion vaccine storage race with its ultra-cold freezer boxes.

Of the two proposed boxes, the larger 12-litre version is capable of storing 5000 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine at up to minus 70 degrees celsius for 18 days by packing it with 34 kilograms of dry ice.

The Tokyo Stock Exchange-listed company said it has already received a deluge of requests from European and U.S. logistics companies to trial the boxes, and its share price has soared 8.4 per cent since the news broke on Thursday.

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