Second vaccine given green light
The only COVID-19 vaccine to be produced onshore has been approved for use in Australia.
The Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) has granted the AstraZeneca vaccine regulatory approval, making it the second vaccine given the green light in Australia.
The TGA confirmed the vaccine would be administered in two doses to people aged 18 years and older.
"Australians can be confident that the TGA's review process of this vaccine was rigorous and of the highest standard," it said in a statement on Tuesday.
"The decision to provisionally approve the vaccine was also informed by expert advice from the Advisory Committee on Vaccines, an independent committee with expertise in scientific, medical and clinical fields including consumer representation."
Australia has ordered 53.8 million AstraZeneca doses, 3.8 million sourced from overseas.
Drug manufacturer CSL was set to produce the other 50 million doses in Melbourne, in a move the government said would safeguard Australia against international supply issues.
The jab will be administered to people aged 18 years and older and in two doses, which the TGA recommends be spaced 12 weeks apart.
The administration also quelled fears the vaccine could prompt adverse reactions in people aged over 65, after Germany raised concerns over its efficacy in that age group.
The TGA said there were "no safety concerns in this age group" arising from clinical trials.
"The decision to immunise an elderly patient should be decided on a case-by-case basis with consideration of age, comorbidities and their environment taking into account the benefits of vaccination and potential risks," it said.
Health Minister Greg Hunt said on Monday approval of the jab would double Australia's overall vaccine distributions by early March.
The first doses of the Pfizer vaccine landed in Australia on Sunday, ahead of the first jabs being administered next week.
Originally published as Second vaccine given green light