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United Kingdom COVID-19 vaccine approval won’t fast-track Australian rollout

CORONAVIRUS LATEST
Article image for United Kingdom COVID-19 vaccine approval won’t fast-track Australian rollout

The United Kingdom has officially approved a COVID-19 vaccine for human use.

The Pfizer-BioNTech coronavirus vaccine has been given the tick of approval by the UK’s Department of Health and Social Care.

A spokesperson said the vaccine will made available across the country from next week.

They say it offers 95 per cent protection against the virus.

Professor of experimental medicine at Imperial College London, Peter Openshaw, says those in aged care homes will be the first to receive the jab.

“There’s huge relief and excitement,” he told Ross and Russel.

Australia signed a deal for the Pfizer jab in November, but Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt says the UK decision has not affected the rollout timeline for the vaccine in Australia.

“Our advice remains that the timeline for a decision on approval (in Australia) is expected by the end of January 2021, and our planning is for the first vaccine delivery in March 2021,” Mr Hunt said.

But Professor Openshaw says the vaccine is essential to Australia’s capacity to safely reopen its borders.

“If you want to open your borders again, the only exit strategy you’ve got is to get everyone vaccinated,” he said.

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