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Production of first Aussie virus vaccines just days away, says Morrison


Manufacturing of the first coronavirus vaccine for Australians will start in Melbourne next week.

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Prime Minister Scott Morrison revealed the significant step by AstraZeneca and CSL as he announced two more vaccine agreements, taking Australia’s deal total to four.

“With the arrangement with AstraZeneca … that process begins next week, but the vaccines will be become available over the course of next year, starting in quarter one,” Morrison said.

Health Department secretary Professor Brendan Murphy said the first doses of the AstraZeneca-Oxford University vaccine would come from overseas.

But then there would be a schedule of delivery over the course of 2021 for locally made supplies.

CSL signed a heads of agreement with AstraZeneca in September to make 30 million doses of the Oxford University developed vaccine candidate.

It also has an agreement with the University of Queensland on another vaccine.

Morrison was in Sydney to announce a deal with Novavax to supply 40 million vaccine doses and Pfizer-BioNTech for 10 million doses.

This brings the Government’s COVID-19 vaccine investment to more than $3.2 billion, adding to deals with UQ-CSL and Oxford-AstraZeneca.

Access to the vaccines is subject to clinical trial outcomes on the safety and effectiveness of each candidate, and approval by the Therapeutic Goods Administration.

The Novavax vaccine, made in the United States and the Czech Republic, will require two doses per person, with the first supply expected to arrive in early 2021.

The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine candidate is also set to arrive in a similar time frame and will be made in the United States, Belgium and Germany.

The Pfizer-BioNTech is a messenger ribonucleic acid (mRNA) type vaccine and the Novovax vaccine is a protein-type vaccine.

Health Minister Greg Hunt said Australia’s COVID-19 vaccine portfolio now had two protein vaccines and one mRNA and one viral vector type vaccine.

“The goal and the expectation is that Australians who sought vaccination will be vaccinated within 2021,” Mr Hunt said.

Health and aged care workers, and the elderly and vulnerable, will be the first to gain access to a vaccine.

People will be able to initially access the vaccines from GPs, GP respiratory clinics, state and territory vaccination sites and workplaces such as aged care facilities.

It will not be mandatory and will be made available free of charge.


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