211-2020 - Importation of COVID-19 Vaccines

10 December 2020

Who does this notice affect?

Importers of COVID-19 vaccines.


The Australian Government is doing all that it can to minimise the impacts of coronavirus (COVID-19). This means working to ensure goods, including COVID-19 vaccines can enter Australia as quickly and efficiently as possible, while meeting import requirements. The following information is provided to assist importers to minimise delays in the border clearance process.

What you need to know

COVID-19 vaccines require a biosecurity import permit from the Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment (DAWE).

You must have a valid import permit before your goods arrive in Australia. If a permit is required and your products arrive without one, you will likely be directed to export or destroy them. If all permit conditions, including documentary requirements, are not met when your goods arrive in Australia, you may be directed to export or destroy them, or there could be significant delays.

COVID-19 vaccines also require Australian Register of Therapeutic Goods (ARGT) registration, with the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) before they can be imported.

Help for new importers

The import process can seem difficult, particularly for new importers. This is complicated by factors such as the urgency of importation and special handling and storage requirements. 

When importing COVID-19 vaccines into Australia you should:

  • Find out more about how to import goods to Australia
  • Ensure all declarations/certifications are complete and correct and meet the minimum documentary policy requirements. Minimum Documentary & Import Declarations Requirements Policy
  • Engage experienced brokers that regularly manage importation of medical/research commodities and discuss with them specific handling requirements for your consignment/s.
  • Engage with the department about your proposed importation including notifying the department early of impending shipments. Please include relevant shipping/clearance references e.g. House Airway Bill or Bill of Lading number, SAC or AIMS ID number, Import Permit number.

Initial contact should be via the Client Contact Group on 1-800-900-090 or email imports@awe.gov.au.

You should also check if other regulatory requirements must be met before you import to Australia.

Examples include:

Further information

Additional information on biosecurity permit requirements and import conditions can be found on the department’s BICON website.
If you have questions or need further information, you can contact us on:

  • Email at imports, attention Meat and Therapeutics team
  • Phone (from within Australia): 1800 900 090
  • Phone (from outside Australia): + 61 3 8318 6700
Last reviewed: 10 December 2020
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