The Australian government has signed a $1.7 billion supply and production agreement with a number of pharmaceutical companies for two COVID-19 vaccines.
Under the agreement, the University of Oxford/AstraZeneca and the University of Queensland/CSL will provide more than 84.8 million vaccine doses for the Australian population, almost entirely manufactured in Melbourne, with early access to 3.8 million doses of the University of Oxford vaccine in January and February 2021.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison said both vaccines would need to be proven safe and effective, and meet all necessary regulatory requirements, prior to being made available to the public.
“Australians will gain free access to a COVID-19 vaccine in 2021 if trials prove successful,” the PrimeMinister said.
“By securing the production and supply agreements, Australians will be among the first in the world to receive a safe and effective vaccine, should it pass late stage testing.
“There are no guarantees that these vaccines will prove successful, however the agreement puts Australia at the top of the queue, if our medical experts give the vaccines the green light.”
The University of Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine is world leading, having entered Phase three trials. To date it has generated strong immune responses, with no significant safety concerns.
The University of Queensland (UQ) vaccine has been developed in Australia by world class scientists and researchers, with support from the Australian Government.
UQ has recently announced that pre-clinical testing showed the vaccine is promising and already effective in animal models.
This production and supply agreement is part of the Australian Government’s COVID Vaccine and Treatment Strategy and was recommended by the expert advisory group – COVID-19 Vaccine and Treatments for Australia – Science and Industry Technical Advisory Group.