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Hind Al Soulia - Riyadh - SYDNEY — Australia on Monday approved the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine for use but warned AstraZeneca's international production problems mean the country would need to distribute a locally manufactured shot earlier than planned.
The country's medical regulator was one of the first in the world to complete a comprehensive approval of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said on Monday, noting it was a year since the first local coronavirus case was detected.
Vaccination of priority groups with the Pfizer vaccine is expected to begin in late February at 80,000 doses per week, Health Minister Greg Hunt told reporters.
Pfizer had told the Australian government it anticipated continuous supply but would provide global production guidance "in mid-February for March and beyond on a weekly basis," he said.
Australia has set a target of 4 million vaccine doses by April. It has also committed to supplying vaccines to Pacific Island nations on a later timetable. — WAM
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