COVID-19

TGA approves Pfizer booster shots, with rapid antigen tests available in November

TGA have announced the approval of COVID-19 vaccine booster shots, while supermarkets will start carrying rapid antigen tests from November.

The national medical regulator has approved COVID-19 booster shots for Australians aged 18 and over.

The government expects the booster shots to be rolled out from November 8, according to Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt.

Booster doses of the Pfizer vaccine have been approved by the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) for people aged 18 and over if it has been six months after their second Pfizer dose.

While the TGA said in a statement that the booster can be administered to people regardless of what their first two doses of the COVID-19 vaccine were; however, they noted that data was limited for on the boosters use vaccines that were not Pfizer, such as AstraZeneca.

The boosters are not yet available as the federal government waits on the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI) for advice on who should receive the booster first.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison said he is expecting that aged and disability car residents will be the first to receive the the booster shots.

Earlier in October, the ATAGI advised that Australians who are severely immunocompromised will be offered the option to receive a third COVID-19 vaccine dose to boost their protection against COVID-19 to the highest level. This was rolled out shortly after.

Meanwhile major supermarkets Woolworths and Coles will start carrying rapid antigen tests from as early as November. The tests are widely used across Europe and in the United States.

The rapid antigen tests provide users a positive or negative COVID result within as little as 15 minutes. The rapid tests will be priced between $10 and $15 per kit.

Coles have announced that the rapid antigen tests will be able to be found in each state and territory except South Australia and Western Australia. Both chains say the tests will be able to be found in store and available for delivery from November 1, with the kits currently available for pre-order from Woolworths.

While the tests provide a speedy positive and negative result, they are less accurate than the currently used PCR tests. Nevertheless, the TGA has approved 33 rapid antigen tests for individuals to use under supervision of a health professional. Hunt said home testing would be available from November 1.

“I’m delighted that the TGA has now recommended that home testing will be available from 1 November, obviously subject to individual tests being approved as being safe and effective,” said Hunt in September press conference.

Also, Premier Steven Marshall and Chief Health Officer Nicola Spurrier addressed the South Australian public this yesterday to reveal the anticipated SA COVID roadmap.

From November 23, restrictions will ease for double vaccinated Australians wishing to enter South Australia from other states. The quarantine restrictions for international returning residents will also be reduced, with only a seven-day quarantine required for double vaccinated Australians.

The cap on home gatherings is also set to ease, with 30 people able to gather inside one home instead of 20 people.

Once SA hits 90 per cent of South Australians 12 and over double vaccinated, quarantine restrictions for international returning residents will dissolve, along with the “vast majority” of current restrictions.

As of October 25, 79.6 per cent of South Australians have received their first COVID vaccination, a positive sign for the state reaching the vital 80 per cent double vaccinated milestone. A total of 63.1 per cent of the state have been fully vaccinated as of Monday.

If you have any COVID-19 symptoms, no matter how mild, please seek testing as soon as possible.

Find your nearest testing site at www.sahealth.sa.gov.au/COVIDtesting

More information is available at www.sahealth.sa.gov.au/COVIDcontacttracing

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