Covid-19 situation update

As a community service, we wish to disseminate information received from Department of Home Affairs (DHA) to our readers about the approved or recognised vaccines by the Therapeutic Goods Administration, a government agency that is responsible for approval of all medicines and medical products in Australia. We also highlight some useful information for travellers about covid-19 travel certifications put out by DHA

19 November 2021 | CCCA

Advice from the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA)

One of the “Potential use of this information” is “Identifying incoming travellers as being fully vaccinated against COVID-19 (or, alternatively, not fully vaccinated) helps to achieve two main outcomes. Effective vaccination reduces the probability that an incoming traveller would:

  • transmit COVID-19 infections to others while in Australia.
  • (2)  become acutely unwell due to COVID, potentially requiring acute healthcare services.

However, for our readers convenience, we have summarized some essential information about vaccines.

Four COVID-19 vaccines have been granted provisional approval in Australia from the following sponsors:

  1. Pfizer Australia Pty Ltd (Comirnaty)
  2. AstraZeneca Pty Ltd (Vaxzevria)
  3. Janssen-Cilag Pty Ltd (COVID-19 Vaccine Janssen)
  4. Moderna Australia Pty Ltd.(Spikevax)

TGA (and ATAGI) consider people to be fully vaccinated with Comirnaty, Vaxzevria and Spikevax if a) they have completed a two‑dose schedule of Comirnaty, Vaxzevria or Spikevax with the two doses at least 14 days apart, or received a single dose of COVID-19 Vaccine Janssen; and b) at least 7 days has elapsed since completing their vaccination schedule.

The TGA has assessed six vaccines that are currently not registered in Australia;

  • Peoples Republic of China – Coronavac (Sinovac), BBIBP-CoV (Sinopharm), and Convidecia (Cansino).
  • India – Covishield (AstraZeneca-Serum Institute of India), Covaxin (Bharat Biotech)
  • Russian Federation – Sputnik V (Gamaleya Research Institute)

TGA thus considers that the Coronavac (Sinovac) vaccine is a “recognised vaccine”.

TGA thus considers that BBIBP-CorV (Sinopharm) not be a “recognised vaccine” at this stage, because of the absence of information on severe infection/hospitalisation.

TGA thus considers that the Covishield (AstraZeneca/Serum Institute of India) vaccine is a “recognised” vaccine.

Because this is an un-refereed pre-print, and we have not yet been provided with a regulatory dossier, TGA has not reached a conclusion on whether Covaxin be a “recognised vaccine”.

Because this is only a single study, and we have not yet been provided with a regulatory dossier, TGA has not reached a conclusion on whether Sputnik V be a “recognised vaccine”.

Because there is insufficient data to evaluate the efficacy of the vaccine, TGA has not yet reached a conclusion on whether Convidecia (Cansino) should be a “recognised vaccine”.

Details of the above Information can be obtatined from:

https://www.tga.gov.au/covid-19-vaccines-not-registered-australia-current-international-use-tga-advice-recognition

From Department of Home Affairs:

Travel exemption applications now open for parents of Australians

From 22 October 2021, parents of Australian citizens and permanent residents are eligible to apply for a travel exemption, for travel to Australia from 1 November 2021. Minister for Home Affairs The Hon Karen Andrews MP said the changes would reunite many families separated by the pandemic https://minister.homeaffairs.gov.au/KarenAndrews/Pages/travel-exemption-applications-open-parents-of-australians.aspx

Eligible parents must be fully vaccinated from COVID-19 before travelling to Australia.  Vaccination status will be checked by airline staff at time of check-in and their exemption will not be valid for travel if vaccination status cannot be evidenced.

Applications for a travel exemption can be made through the Department of Home Affairs Travel Exemption Portal, for travel to Australia from 1 November 2021. A variety of parental relationships are recognised, including biological, adoptive, legal, step-parent, and parent-in-law.

Evidence of a parental relationship with an Australian citizen or permanent resident is required, with examples of the type of evidence required available on the Department’s website. All international travellers remain subject to state and territory quarantine arrangements.

Travel for vaccinated Australians and permanent residents

From 1 November 2021, Australian citizens and permanent residents aged 12 and over who have received two doses of an approved or recognised vaccine will be able to leave Australia without needing an outwards travel exemption. Children under 12 and those who cannot be vaccinated for medical reasons will also be able to travel overseas without an exemptionAustralian citizens and permanent residents who do not meet the eligibility requirements must continue to follow the current border processes when leaving Australia or coming to Australia.

Evidence of vaccination – International COVID-19 Vaccination Certificates are being used around the world to provide evidence that travelers have been vaccinated.To travel internationally without requiring an exemption, fully vaccinated Australian citizens and permanent residents will need to provide evidence of their vaccination status at airport check-in when departing Australia.

You will need to show airline staff your International COVID-19 Vaccination Certificate (ICVC), which you can get through your myGov account. The ICVC will be provided in PDF format for you to print or hold electronically on your phone.For more information about getting an ICVC, visit the Services Australia website.

Returning to Australia – If you are fully vaccinated with an Australian Government approved or recognised vaccine, or under the age of 12, you may be eligible for reduced quarantine requirements when you return to Australia.Evidence of your vaccination status will be required when you check-in to your flight.

Quarantine – States and territories are responsible for determining and managing quarantine requirements for people entering from overseas. Check with the state or territory that you are returning to for their quarantine arrangements.

More information on pre-departure testing and requirements for masks during the flight is available on the Department of Health website.

Individual states has different requirement and you must consult the State website for travel to and from Australia for specific State regulations. (WA Western Australia; SA-South Australia; Tas Tasmania; Vic Victoria; NSW Nw South Wales; Qld Queensland; NT Northern territory; ACT  Australian Capital Territory)

https://www.wa.gov.au/organisation/department-of-the-premier-and-cabinet/covid-19-coronavirus-travel-wa

https://www.covid-19.sa.gov.au/restrictions-and-responsibilities/travel-restrictions

https://www.coronavirus.tas.gov.au/travellers-and-visitors/coming-to-tasmania

https://www.coronavirus.vic.gov.au/victorian-travel-permit-system

https://www.nsw.gov.au/covid-19/travel-restrictions

https://www.qld.gov.au/health/conditions/health-alerts/coronavirus-covid-19/current-status/public-health-directions/travelling-to-queensland

https://coronavirus.nt.gov.au/travel/quarantine/hotspots-covid-19

https://www.covid19.act.gov.au/travel/entering-the-act

Please consult individual State Government/ACT website for updates.

Principal authors, Dr Anthony Pun and Dr Ka Sing Chua. This commentary is supplied by the Chinese Community Council of Australia Incorporated, the views expressed in this article are those of the authors.

Previous CCCA News