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Safety first on COVID-19 vaccine, top Aussie scientist says

Published: (Updated: ) in Australian News by .

Australian health regulators will closely scrutinise any COVID-19 vaccine to ensure it is safe before being rolled out.

Australian health regulators will closely scrutinise any COVID-19 vaccine to ensure it is safe before being rolled out.

Professor John Skerritt of the Therapeutic Goods Administration told Today that experts would closely monitor data from the UK when it starts distributing the Pfizer vaccine - the same one Australia plans to roll out next March.

"We're waiting a little bit longer to get more complete data on how well the vaccine works clinically. What groups it works with, how long the protection might be and more complete data about safety," he said.

READ MORE: What the UK's COVID-19 vaccine means for Australia

Professor Skerritt's comments came after Prime Minister Scott Morrison said he would be get a coronavirus vaccine but public safety was paramount.

Australian scientists hope to have all the necessary vaccine information by early February before vaccinations start here, Professor Skerritt said.

"We are hoping that the first of the vaccines will be approved by us for roll out in the first quarter of 2021," he said.

Professor Skerritt said his team would be looking closely at approval processes over the summer.

"We are getting information from the whole of the US, across the UK , and when you are looking at data from hundreds of millions of people you can pick up this sort of thing much more quickly and be able to give good, clinical advice."

READ MORE: Sydney quarantine hotel worker tests positive to COVID-19

He said there is a huge level of international co-operation in sharing vaccine information.

"We talk to each other all the time. We look at each other's dat," Professor Skerritt said.

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"The UK did a thorough review on what data they had. They were looking at data as of November and there is more data coming through in December and we believe that is important data."

Professor Skerritt also reassured Australians that next year's planned Australian roll-out of a vaccine will involve large-scale safety monitoring.

"It's important that the public is reassured about the safety of vaccines ... It may be, for example, that certain people, say, with diseases like multiple sclerosis, shouldn't take particular vaccines and that is the information we're gathering."

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Source: 9News

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