On 1 October 2021, the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) updated its advice on which vaccines are “recognised” in Australia. Now, the Sinovac vaccine and Covishield are recognised for international travellers.
Let’s break down how these changes may impact international students.
What do these changes mean?
As announced by the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA), China’s Sinovac vaccine and Covishield, an Indian-made version of AstraZeneca, are now “recognised vaccines” in Australia for “incoming international travellers to be regarded as appropriately vaccinated”. While these vaccines are “recognised”, they are not approved for use in Australia. This means that people living in Australia will not be offered them.
What does this mean for borders opening?
On 1 October 2021, it was announced that Australia would be preparing to lift its ban on international travel for states that reach 80 per cent vaccination. This will allow fully vaccinated Australian citizens and permanent residents to quarantine at home for seven days, rather than undertaking hotel quarantine for 14 days, upon their return. However, this will not apply to international students at first.
This has also been clarified by the TGA:
Note that while certain vaccines may be considered by the TGA as “recognised”, decisions on inbound travel are made by the Department of Home Affairs. State and Territory governments, or organisations such as universities, may apply additional considerations around vaccine requirements post-border.
However, these changes in vaccine recognition will impact future International Student Arrival Plans, such as the NSW International Student Arrivals Pilot Plan, which requires international students to be fully vaccinated with a Therapeutic Good Administration (TGA) recognised COVID-19 vaccination before landing in Sydney.
Which vaccines are approved in Australia?
The current vaccines approved by the TGA for use in Australia include Pfizer (COMIRNATY), AstraZeneca (VAXZEVRIA), Moderna (SPIKEVAX) and Johnson & Johnson/Jassen-Cilag (COVID-19 Vaccine Jassen).
If you are an international student currently living in Australia, you are eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccine for free. Find more details on how to book your vaccine as an international student.
Which vaccines are not recognised in Australia?
As reported by ABC News, in the TGA’s initial report, it assessed six vaccines “that have been widely deployed in the Asia-Pacific region, as well as in national vaccination programs in countries such as China and India, from which Australia normally receives many international arrivals”.
In this same report, the TGA has said it had insufficient data to recognise four vaccines at this stage. These include China’s Sinopharm and CanSino jabs, India’s Covaxin from Bharat Biotech, and Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine.
The advice shared by the TGA is subject to change as new information becomes available.