Prime Minister Scott Morrison says he expects coronavirus vaccinations to start in mid-to-late February, following fresh advice on Thursday.
He said the Therapeutic Goods Administration was expected to receive all of the data it needed from vaccine developer Pfizer in mid-January, with approval due by the end of January.
“It is moving considerably faster than normal vaccine approval processes but without skipping a step, without cutting a corner,” Mr Morrison told reporters in Canberra.
The approval process regarding another vaccine, by AstraZeneca, is due to be completed in February.
Mr Morrison said Pfizer’s global protocols required about two weeks for delivery post-approval.
He anticipated there would be some logistical issues as the vaccine had to be stored at minus-70 degrees Celcius.
After delivery of the vaccines, there would be up to a week required for batch testing of the vaccine doses.
The Pfizer vaccine would require a second dose within a couple of weeks to a month.
The first group to be vaccinated through a network of hospitals would be quarantine and border workers, frontline health officials, aged care and disability workers and aged care residents.
Mr Morrison said it was hoped to achieve around 80,000 vaccinations a week and see that build up over a period of four to six weeks, with four million people vaccinated by the end of March.
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If you are experiencing cold or flu symptoms, stay home and arrange a test by calling your doctor or contact the Coronavirus Health Information Hotline on 1800 020 080. News and information is available in 63 languages at sbs.com.au/coronavirus.