SYDNEY—Australia on Wednesday authorized booster shots of COVID-19 vaccines for over-18s, with the third dose expected to be offered to the entire population from next month.
The Therapeutic Goods Administration regulatory authority said it had granted provisional approval for one dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine to be given as a booster shot to adults.
"The provisional approval means that individuals aged 18 years and older may receive a booster (third dose), at least 6 months after the completion of a COVID-19 vaccine primary series," the agency said.
Health Minister Greg Hunt said a population-wide booster program would begin no later than Nov. 8, subject to approval from the nation's immunization advisory body.
"We will commence with aged care and disability as a priority," he told reporters in Canberra.
Hunt said the "universal booster" would be available to anyone who had received 2 doses of either the Pfizer-BioNTech, Oxford/AstraZeneca or Moderna vaccine.
Australia has so far double-dosed 74 percent of its population aged over 16, with 87 percent having received a single jab.
Booster shots had already been made available to severely immunocompromised people earlier in October.
The government said it expected Moderna would also apply to Australia's medical regulator for booster shot approval.