Extra checks on the safety of a vaccine used in Norway won't delay its rollout in Australia, Chief Medical Officer Paul Kelly says.
Australia's Therapeutic Goods Administration and foreign affairs officials are working with Norwegian authorities to obtain information after deaths among elderly people who took the Pfizer vaccine.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison spoke with Norwegian authorities on Monday night as part of talks with the "first movers" group, which also includes Austria, Israel, Greece, Denmark, the Czech Republic and Norway.
Professor Kelly told reporters Australian officials were closely working with their Norwegian counterparts to uncover the details of the deaths and ensure the safety of the Australian rollout.
"They do point out ... that in Norway in a normal week 400 people do pass away in their aged care facilities, so this has to be put in the context of what has happened after people have received vaccines," Prof Kelly told reporters in Canberra on Tuesday.
"It will not delay the process, but the TGA is doing its due diligence as we expect them to do."
He said the TGA would provide detailed advice on the use of vaccines on frail elderly people.
"We will keep a very close eye on adverse effects," he said.
Prof Kelly said countries with advanced vaccination programs like Israel were starting to see a significant drop in hospitalised coronavirus patients.
Amid calls for Australia to reopen international travel, he said vaccines would play a role.
"In terms of how that might change into the future, large and effective rollout of vaccination in would increase our protection, which would be of value," he said.
The Pfizer vaccine is expected to be the first to be approved and rolled out as soon as next month, followed by the AstraZeneca jab.
Australian Associated Press