WORLD Australian GPs given green light to administer Pfizer COVID-19 vaccines

WORLD

Australian GPs given green light to administer Pfizer COVID-19 vaccines

Xinhua

13:31, May 26, 2021

CANBERRA, May 26 (Xinhua) -- Australian doctors will administer Pfizer's coronavirus vaccine for the first time after a "game changing" decision by the country's medical regulator.

Nurse Maddy Williams receives the Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine in Canberra, Australia on Feb. 22, 2021. (Photo by Chu Chen/Xinhua)

The Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) has changed guidelines for the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, allowing doses to be stored in regular refrigerators for up to a month before being administered.

Previously the vaccine had to be stored at -70 degrees Celsius, limiting its distribution to facilities with specialized cold storage facilities.

Minister for Health Greg Hunt said on Tuesday that the new advice was an "important development" that would fast-track Australia's vaccine rollout.

"That will open up general practice and pharmacy options with Pfizer," he told Nine Entertainment newspapers.

"We will be able to have a dual track program of our general practices and community pharmacies. I can be absolutely certain that pharmacies will be a fundamental partner in that third stage of our vaccine delivery right around the country."

As of Wednesday morning there have been nearly 3.8 million COVID-19 vaccines administered in Australia.

The TGA's decision came as the virus reemerged in the community in Melbourne, prompting the re-introduction of restrictions on gathering sizes.

Karen Price, president of the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners, described the decision as a "game changer" for the rollout, saying it would "absolutely" mean more people could be immunized.

"GPs have capacity, all around the country we have been saying we have capacity to do more doses," she said.

"We do this with the flu vaccine every year. GPs are the mass vaccinators of the country."

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