Australian officials have given a green light to the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine against the COVID-19 virus but are also warning about the AstraZeneca distribution problems.
The Land down under has approved the use of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine on its citizens in the fight against COVID-19. This country was actually one of the first ones to compete for the approval of this vaccine, and now the beginning of immunization is on the sight. The vaccination of the priority groups is set to begin at the end of February, with 80.000 injected each week. The main concern for the medical officials in Australia is Pfizer’s ability to provide equal and frequent distributions of the vaccine once the immunization process begins. Pfizer has responded assuring that the regular providing of the vaccine will be able to start mid-February or March at the latest.
What About AstraZeneca (LON: AZN)?
Despite the country previously relying on the AstraZeneca vaccine, too, things seem to be taking a turn. The company has given an update to the European Union regarding its rollout, explaining that it plans on cutting deliveries of the vaccine by 60% due to production problems. It is said that the company has experienced a supply shock, so it is forced to cut the production during the first quarter of the year. Until then, however, Australia will also delay approving this vaccine for use, possibly until March. Australia is still hoping to add AstraZeneca in its immunization process in the future, but only after the company begins supplying the countries regularly and without any delays or shutdowns.
Australia is set to have a better starting position compared to other countries since it will pay for the vaccines beforehand through a premium, the officials are pointing out. This will have a significant impact on the Forex market as well, considering the shift in the AUD this will probably create against the benchmark currencies. The country is expected to receive a total of 4 million doses of vaccine until April. Also, the country has promised to also supply Pacific island nations after covering its own territory, as a part of a bigger effort on their government’s part.
The Immunization Process
So far, Australia is ready to begin vaccination on its citizens, prioritizing different groups including quarantine and border personnel, frontline health workers, and aged care and disability staff. The Pfizer (NYSE: PFY) vaccine is approved in this country for all citizens aged 16 or higher. Currently, Australia is marking a 7th straight day of not having a single infected case. Also, there are currently no infected patients in the country’s intensive care, with a total of 125.000 lives lost globally in the last 10 days.
To ensure further good results in the future in this area, Australia has joined New Zealand by suspending all travel for 72 hours. The measures also include isolation and testing for everyone who arrived in the country at any time since January 14. This decision came after a single positive case was detected in New Zealand, after a woman was detained after leaving quarantine in her New Zealand hotel on January 13. Because of this case, over 15 people who have been in contact with her were ordered to self-isolate after this country’s COVID Tracer App detected them as close contacts of the woman who was infected.
Australia is one of the first countries in the world to approve the vaccine by going through the standard and detailed approval process, instead of using an emergency approval. The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine was approved provisionally by the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) of Australia. The vaccine was deemed as efficient and safe to use for people aged 16 or above. The immunization will be considered as completed after two doses are administered to each person, at least 21 days apart.
Australia is by far one of the leading countries when it comes to combating the COVID-19 pandemic, with zero recorded cases in months. Still, the officials are warning against the citizens relaxing and forgetting the measures such as wearing masks and social distancing, stating that the country is more isolated than ever after a year of living with a global pandemic that has taken over several million lives across the globe.