Australia has secured 50 million doses of two more COVID-19 vaccine candidates, moving Australia a step closer to reopening to the world.
Australia has secured 50 million doses of two more COVID-19 vaccine candidates, moving Australia a step closer to reopening to the world.

New COVID-19 vaccine deals put Australia ‘at front of queue’

Australia is a step closer to being able to reopen safely to the rest of the world after the federal government procured 50 million doses of two more COVID-19 vaccine candidates.

Scott Morrison will on Thursday announce the government has bought 10 million units of the Novavax vaccine and 40 million doses of the leading Pfizer and BioNTech candidate.

Australia already has deals in place for the promising Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine and the University of Queensland and CSL candidate.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison at the Astra Zeneca laboratories in Macquarie Park after signing an agreement to produce the Oxford University Covid-19 vaccine. Picture: Nick Moir
Prime Minister Scott Morrison at the Astra Zeneca laboratories in Macquarie Park after signing an agreement to produce the Oxford University Covid-19 vaccine. Picture: Nick Moir

None of the four have yet been proven safe and effective but there are hopes most of the population will be vaccinated by the end of next year - and 1.5 million of the most vulnerable before the end of summer.

The Prime Minister said Australia was not "putting all our eggs in one basket" and would pursue more deals if they were recommended by medical experts.

He said by having more vaccines lined up, Australians would have "the best shot at early access to a vaccine, should trials prove successful".

"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," he said.

The new deals mean Australia could have to two protein vaccines, one mRNA vaccine and one viral vector type vaccine, costing more than $3.2 billion so far.

People in frontline health and service jobs, as well as those in high-risk health categories such as the elderly are expected to receive the first available doses.

Australians may need two units of whatever candidate is approved, like other common vaccination programs.

 

Health Minister Greg Hunt said he expected anyone who wanted a shot to receive one sometime next year. Picture: Gary Ramage
Health Minister Greg Hunt said he expected anyone who wanted a shot to receive one sometime next year. Picture: Gary Ramage

 

The federal government has been working with Victorian authorities, medical experts and industry bodies to agree on a rollout plan to be approved by National Cabinet by the end of the year.

Work has already begun in Victoria to ensure that there are enough trained professionals to administer the vaccines once they receive approval.

GP offices, respiratory clinics, pre-existing vaccination sites and workplaces including nursing homes will be among the first to administer vaccines.

Health Minister Greg Hunt said he expected anyone who wanted a shot to receive one sometime next year under the free but non-compulsory scheme.

It is unlikely Australia will be able to fully reopen international borders until a vaccine has been found. 

MORE NEWS

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NSW OPENS BORDER TO VICTORIANS

THREE STATES THAT WILL DETERMINE ELECTION

tamsin.rose@news.com.au

@tamsinroses

Originally published as New COVID-19 vaccine deals put Australia 'at front of queue'


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