The AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine has been approved for use in Australia, clearing the way for nearly 54 million doses in the national rollout plan

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  • The AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine has secured provisional approval for use in Australia, making it the second vaccine candidate shown the green light by local authorities.
  • The vaccine passed assessment by the Therapeutic Goods Administration, which cleared it for use in people aged 18 and over.
  • Australia has already secured access to nearly 54 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine.
  • Visit Business Insider Australia’s homepage for more stories.

The AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine has been approved for local use by the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA), signalling that Australia’s long-awaited vaccine rollout can get fully underway.

In a Tuesday announcement, the TGA confirmed it has provisionally approved the vaccine for widespread use, declaring it safe and highly effective in preventing COVID-19 in people aged 18 years and older.

“Australians can be confident that the TGA’s review process of this vaccine was rigorous and of the highest standard,” the organisation said.

The TGA advises the vaccine should be administered in two doses, with the second dose delivered between four and twelve weeks after the initial jab.

Administering the AstraZeneca formulation to those aged 65 should be decided on a case-by-case basis, the TGA added.

While people in that age group demonstrate a strong immune response after receiving the vaccine, the TGA is waiting on further trail data on its precise efficacy.

Some 3.8 million doses will be delivered to Australia in the coming weeks, while CSL’s Melbourne facility is poised to develop the remaining 50 million shots.

The AstraZeneca vaccine is the second jab approved for local use by the TGA, with today’s announcement coming a month after the Pfizer vaccine was given the green light.

Some 20 million doses of the Pfizer vaccine have been secured by Australia, and the first batch touched down in Sydney on Monday.

The Pfizer formulation is scheduled for rollout from February 22, and will largely be targeted at vulnerable communities and healthcare workers.

By contrast, Australia expects to handle nearly 54 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine, with those shots forming a major part of the nation’s broader response to the virus.

Speaking in Canberra after Tuesday’s approval, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said the AstraZeneca vaccine “is going to make a huge difference to how we live here in Australia this year, and in the years ahead.”

Addressing differences between vaccine formulations, TGA chief Professor John Skerritt said, “What is important is to get vaccines into people’s arms.”

“AstraZeneca gives us a vaccine that can be used in major facilities, in primary care through GPs, and potentially through pharmacy practices,” he said.

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