Australia’s vaccination program is expected to roll-out in late February after the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) provisionally approved the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine, making it the first COVID-19 vaccine to receive regulatory approval in Australia.

Dr Andrew Webster with the Danila Dilba Health Service.

With only a limited number of doses available, priority groups such as frontline healthcare workers, quarantine and border staff and aged care and disability residents and staff will be the first to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.

However, concerns around the deaths of 33 very frail and elderly people in Norway shortly after receiving the Pfizer vaccine has led the TGA to make some provisions for vulnerable people over the age of 85.

Dr Andrew Webster is head of clinical governance with the Danila Dilba Health Service in Darwin and says the decision to inoculate people in this age group will most likely be made on an individual basis.

For people who are not eligible or whom the Pfizer vaccine is deemed unsafe, it is likely they will receive the AstraZeneca vaccine once it is approved for use in Australia, which Dr Webster anticipates will happen in the coming weeks.