On Monday, January 25, prime minister Scott Morrison announced that Pfizer's Covid-19 vaccine was provisionally approved by the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA), the national medical regulator, for use in Australia. This vaccine, the first to gain approval in this country, will be rolled out from late February onwards, following what the prime minister called a thorough and independent review of the vaccine's efficacy and safety.
In early January, Morrison stated that vaccinating the Australian population would occur in five stages, with the first ring of people being those in “the most necessary ring of containment and protection for the Australian population" receiving the Pfizer vaccine. This first tranche will include quarantine and border officials, frontline health workers including aged care and disability care workers, as well as residents in aged and disability care.
However, it's important to note that the vaccine is not expected to end the need for Australians to follow health and safety practices in their everyday lives, including social distancing and strict hand hygiene, for at least a year.
"Vaccination is not a silver bullet … Covid-safe practices do not end, they continue," he said on January 7, when first outlining the staged process of vaccination for Australians. "Covid-safe practices will be a 2021 lived experience. It will still be a fight over the course of 2021 but this will add a very significant further defence and offence... in combating the virus around the world."