Labelled one of the “most promising vaccine developments in the world” by Scott Morrison, a new deal will allow every Australian citizen and resident to receive the COVID-19 vaccine for free, assuming it clears clinical trials.
The Federal Government reached the agreement with UK-based drug company AstraZeneca, who will supply every Australian with a vaccine after it is proven to be safe and effective.
“This is one of the most promising and most advanced vaccine developments anywhere in the world and we have been working on this for some time,” Mr Morrison told Today this morning.
“There are about 160 different projects around the world and Professor Brendan Murphy is leading a team of experts to identify and work through the other promising options.”
The Oxford University vaccine has been considered a front runner in the global race for a vaccine, which include Australia’s own ‘COVAX’ vaccine. The vaccine developed by AstraZeneca has already entered its third phase of trials, where it is being tested on thousands of volunteers to confirm its effectiveness.
“There is no guarantee that this, or any other, vaccine will be successful, which is why we are continuing our discussions with many parties around the world while backing our own researches at the same time to find a vaccine,” Morrison said in a statement.
The government proposes to sign a letter of intent with AstraZeneca and enter a consumables contract with Becton Dickinson for the supply of needles and syringes. The total cost of the program is likely to be in the billions of dollars.
The UK has already reserved 100 million doses of the vaccine, and the Prime Minister hopes it could be rolled out in Australia by “early 2021.”
“If we can get it done earlier than that, then we will,” Morrison said.