Australia Approves AstraZeneca Vaccine

CANBERRA, Australia (AP) -
A man walks down an empty city laneway on the first day of a five-day lockdown implemented in the state of Victoria in response to a coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak in Melbourne, February 13. (Reuters/Sandra Sanders)

Australia’s regulator on Tuesday approved the AstraZeneca vaccine as its second for use against COVID-19.

Pfizer’s product will be available in Australia next week. It will be given in two doses three weeks apart, while AstraZeneca’s will be administered in two doses 12 weeks apart.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison said the Therapeutic Goods Administration, the regulator, found the AstraZeneca vaccine was safe and effective.

Health Minister Greg Hunt said the AstraZeneca vaccine will prevent serious COVID-19 illness.

Morrison will be vaccinated with the Pfizer product and Hunt with AstraZeneca in a demonstration of confidence in both vaccines.

Australia has contracted 53.8 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine, and 50 million of those will be manufactured in Australia.

The government has also secured 20 million Pfizer vaccines for a population of 26 million.