The Federal Government has signed another two agreements to give Australia access to potential COVID-19 vaccines early next year.
- The Government has secured another 50 million doses of vaccine candidates — from Novavax as well as Pfizer and BioNTech
- The Health Minister says the extra vaccines “strengthen” Australia’s vaccine investments
- Health and aged care workers and vulnerable Australians will be first to receive vaccines
Under the deals, Australia will get 40 million doses of the vaccine being developed by biotechnology company Novavax, and 10 million doses of the vaccine being produced by Pfizer and BioNTech.
Both vaccine candidates are currently in stage three clinical trials, and supplies will begin arriving in Australia in early 2021 — if they are proven safe and effective.
The new agreements mean Australia is in line to get access to 134 million doses of four different vaccines at a total cost of $3.2 billion.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison said there were no guarantees the vaccines would pass trials, but his Government’s strategy puts Australia at the front of the queue.
“By securing multiple COVID-19 vaccines we are giving Australians the best shot at early access to a vaccine, should trials prove successful,” Mr Morrison said.
“We aren’t putting all our eggs in one basket and we will continue to pursue further vaccines should our medical experts recommend them.”
Earlier this year, the Morrison Government signed a deal to get 33.8 million doses of the AstraZeneca/Oxford University vaccine and 51 million doses of the CSL/University of Queensland vaccine.
Those vaccines would be manufactured domestically, however, under the new deals, doses of the Novavax and Pfizer vaccines would be made offshore in the United States, Czech Republic, Belgium and Germany.
All four vaccines would likely require individuals to take two doses.
Health Minister Greg Hunt said Australia had invested in a range of vaccines including two protein vaccines, one mRNA, and a viral vector-type vaccine.
He reiterated that the vaccines would be free, optional, and priority would be given to vulnerable people and frontline workers.
“The goal and the expectation is that Australians who sought vaccination will be vaccinated within 2021,” Mr Hunt said.
“There are no surprises, 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.”