Scott Morrison announces that manufacturing of the AstraZeneca vaccine will begin in Melbourne NEXT WEEK
- The federal government has previously signed deals to buy two Covid vaccines
- Now Scott Morrison has signed two more agreements with vaccine companies
- Deals are for 40m doses from Novavax and 10million from Pfizer/BioNTec
- The government hopes to roll out a vaccine around Australia early next year
A Covid-19 vaccine will be manufactured in Australia from next week and could be rolled out early next year, Scott Morrison said on Thursday.
The government has signed a deal with biotech company CSL to make 30million doses of AstraZeneca’s vaccine at its factory in Melbourne.
The jab, which was produced at the University of Oxford, is seen as the leading candidate across the globe.
The government has signed a deal with biotech company CSL to make 30million doses of AstraZeneca’s vaccine at its factory in Melbourne. Pictured: Scott Morrison at Scientia Clinical Research Ltd lab in Randwick, Sydney on Thursday
The production will start next week but the vaccines won’t be given to anyone until they are approved.
Speaking in Sydney on Thursday, Mr Morrison said: ‘The overwhelming number are manufactured here in Australia and that process begins next week, but the vaccines will be become available over the course of next year, starting in quarter one.’
As many European countries go back into lockdown with coronavirus cases soaring, Mr Morrison said Australians were ‘looking forward to 2021’.
‘It’s a day that Australians can take more hope and as we move towards Christmas and as families gather around, as borders come down, as Australians connect with each other again safely,’ he said.
The Prime Minster has also signed deals to buy two more Covid-19 vaccines if they pass ongoing trials.
The federal government will potentially buy 40million doses from American company Novavax and 10million doses of a jab jointly produced by US firms Pfizer and BioNTech.
Both vaccines are undergoing large final-stage trials around the world and could be approved for use in Australia by early next year.
The deals worth $1.5billion add to agreements already signed with the University of Queensland and the University of Oxford and take the total number of potential doses secured to 134million at a cost of $3.2billion. All the vaccines require two doses per person.
Announcing the new deals, Mr Morrison said in a statement: ‘By securing multiple Covid-19 vaccines we are giving Australians the best shot at early access to a vaccine, should trials prove successful.
‘We aren’t putting all our eggs in one basket and we will continue to pursue further vaccines should our medical experts recommend them.
‘There are no guarantees that these vaccines will prove successful, however our Strategy puts Australia at the front of the queue, if our medical experts give the vaccines the green light.’
The federal government will buy 40million doses of a vaccine produced by American company Novavax and 10million doses of a jab jointly produced by US firms Pfizer and BioNTech. Pictured: Sydneysiders at Royal Randwick racecourse on Tuesday
The deals add to agreements already signed with the University of Queensland and the University of Oxford and take the total number of potential doses secured to 134million
Health Minister Greg Hunt said he hopes all Australians who want a jab to be vaccinated by the end of next year.
‘The goal and the expectation is that Australians who sought vaccination will be vaccinated within 2021,’ he said.
The doses will be rolled out to the elderly and critical workers first.
‘Health and aged care workers and the elderly and vulnerable will be the first to gain access to a vaccine that’s deemed safe and effective,’ Mr Hunt said.
The federal government is currently consulting with the states and territories, key medical experts and industry peak bodies on how to distribute the vaccine.
Key vaccination sites will initially include GPs, GP respiratory clinics and workplaces such as aged care facilities.
Any Covid-19 vaccination will be free and optional.
The government is inviting suppliers with a proven track record in vaccine logistics and distribution to put their hands up to help roll out a vaccine.
Key vaccination sites will initially include GPs, GP respiratory clinics and workplaces such as aged care facilities. Pictured: Richmond, Melbourne last week