Australia has started manufacturing 30 million doses of a coronavirus vaccine that will be rolled out in March if approved by regulators.
The vaccine developed by the British company AstraZeneca and the University of Oxford is produced in a factory in Melbourne by the biotechnology company CSL.
The jab is considered the leading contender across the world and is in the final stages of testing in the UK, US and other countries.
Australia has started manufacturing 30 million doses of AstraZeneca’s coronavirus vaccine, which will be rolled out in March if approved. Pictured: AstraZeneca headquarters in Sydney
Health Minister Greg Hunt did not rule out barring Australians from entering the country if they had not received the blow. Pictured: Sydney Airport
Doses of the vaccine will be produced over the next 50 days and then stored pending approval for use by Australia’s Therapeutic Goods Administration.
Health Minister Greg Hunt said Monday that health workers and the elderly will have priority access to the vaccine, which requires two doses per person.
“The first vaccines will probably be available around March… it would start with health workers and the elderly if approved for them,” he told Sydney 2GB radio.
Mr Hunt said the vaccine could be rolled out nationwide before the end of 2021, but said it would not be mandatory.
“It will be voluntary, but we will encourage as many people as possible,” he said.
“We are confident that we will have a very high turnout among the Australian population.
He added, “Our job is to make sure it’s safe, efficient and available and to give the public confidence that it’s something that can save lives and protect lives. “
The government has signed an agreement with biotech company CSL to manufacture doses of AstraZeneca vaccine at its Melbourne plant. Pictured: Scott Morrison at the Scientia Clinical Research Ltd lab in Randwick, Sydney on Thursday
It is not known what incentives the government will put in place to encourage vaccination.
In August, Mr Hunt told A Current Affair that he “would not rule out” barring Australians from entering the country if they had not received the blow.
“If medical advice is needed, I could certainly imagine it is,” he said.
Another option would be to deny government support to people who do not receive the vaccine.
The government is already doing this under the 2015 ‘no hit, no pay’ rule that prevents parents from receiving tax breaks, child care benefits and child care rebates. they refuse to vaccinate their child.
Deputy Chief Medical Officer Dr Nick Coatsworth said measures to encourage vaccine uptake, such as banning Australians from flights, restaurants and public transport, would be discussed by health officials and ministers.
CSL has separate contracts with AstraZeneca and the Australian government to manufacture the 30 million doses of the candidate vaccine.
“This is an important milestone and marks the end of several months of 24-hour preparation by our trained staff around the world,” CSL Scientific Director Andrew Nash said in a statement.
“There is still a long way to go and our top priority remains the safety and efficacy of the vaccines we produce.
The government signed agreements last week to purchase two more Covid-19 vaccines if they pass ongoing trials.
Australia will potentially buy 40 million doses from the American company Novavax and 10 million doses of a jab produced jointly by the American companies Pfizer and BioNTech.
The federal government will buy 40 million doses of a vaccine produced by the American company Novavax and 10 million doses of a vaccine produced jointly by the American companies Pfizer and BioNTech. Pictured: Sydneysiders at Royal Randwick Racecourse on Tuesday
Both vaccines are currently in large end-stage trials around the world and could be approved for use in Australia early next year.
The agreements worth $ 1.5 billion are in addition to agreements already signed with the University of Queensland and the University of Oxford and bring the total number of potential safe doses to 134 million at a cost of $ 3.2 billion. All vaccines require two doses per person.
The federal government consults with states and territories, leading medical experts and leading industry organizations on how to distribute the vaccine.
Major vaccination sites will initially include general practitioners, respiratory clinics, and workplaces such as elderly care facilities.
Any Covid-19 vaccination will be free and optional.
The agreements come on top of agreements already signed with the University of Queensland and the University of Oxford and bring the total number of potential safe doses to 134 million.