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The Therapeutic Goods Administration has provisionally approved a booster dose of the Pfizer vaccine for Australians 18 years and older.
It means that booster shots (a third dose) will be available at least six months after the completion of a COVID-19 vaccine primary series.
In a statement on Wednesday morning, the TGA said the booster could be used in conjunction with any of the COVID-19 vaccines registered for use in Australia, although data on the use of Pfizer as a booster with other COVID-19 vaccines “is more limited”.
“In addition, consistent with [Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation] advice, the TGA Product Information (PI) also now includes a statement that a third dose may be given to severely immunocompromised people aged 12 years and over at least 28 days after the second dose.”
Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt said the booster program will begin no later than November 8, pending final advice from ATAGI, with Australians in aged care and disability a priority.
“It’s a universal booster,” Mr Hunt says, meaning “it’s available for people who’ve had Pfizer, AstraZeneca or Moderna”.
He added that the Pfizer booster will only be available at this stage to adults over 18 who completed their second shot six months ago, meaning those who’ve had the more recent Moderna vaccine won’t qualify for some time yet.
By January 1, there will be 1.6 million who will have passed the six-month vaccination mark, Deputy Secretary of the Therapeutic Goods Administration, John Skerritt, said.
It comes as Mr Hun confirmed that double vaccinated Australians will, from November 1, be able to leave the country and return without seeking an exemption.
“So fully vaccinated Australians will not require an exemption to depart Australia from the first of November. This is the first stage of our international reopening,” Mr Hunt said
“Subsequently we’ll have a second stage focusing on students and critical workers. We’re also looking, as the Prime Minister has indicated, at early arrangements with Singapore and then we’ll look at general travel for tourism and other purposes for people entering the country.”
More to come
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