Prime Minister Scott Morrison said, “Australia had reached a deal with Swedish-British pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca to receive the COVID-19 vaccine it is developing with Oxford University”.
The Oxford vaccine is one of the five globally in Phase 3 efficacy trials, and researchers hope to have results by the end of this year.
He also said, “If this vaccine proves successful we will manufacture and supply vaccines straight away under our own steam and make it for free for 25 million Australians.” Adding, he told, “The Oxford vaccine is one of the most advanced and promising in the world, under this deal we have secured early access for every Australian.”
The country is yet to reach a final agreement with AstraZeneca on the cost, and the local manufacturer has not been locked in.
Morisson said his government was also in talks with many parties around the world, over other potential vaccines as well as supporting local scientist in their efforts. It is the very first deal for Australia.
Australia has signed an agreement , Aus$25 million, with American medical technology company Becton Dickison to buy 100 million needles and syringes to administer the doses.
AstraZeneca has also signed agreements to provide doses to the US, Europe and Brazil.
None of the corona virus vaccine under development has proved its efficacy yet in clinical trials, at least 5.7 billion doses have been pre-ordered around the world.
Three Western and two Chinese, five vaccines are in Phase 3 efficacy trials involving thousands of people, including the Oxford vaccine.
Another deal struck by Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, would see India manufacture the Oxford vaccine for distribution in 57 low-and middle income countries.
Earlier this month he called nations to share potential vaccines, saying any country that discovered one and did not make it available globally, would be judged terribly by history.
Morrison said Australia remained committed to ensuring early access to the potential vaccine for Pacific countries and regional partners in Southeast Asia. By Western laboratories, the first shipments of a COVID-19 vaccine is created, that often been snapped up by the United States.
Australia has recorded almost 24,000 cases of COVID-19 and 438 fatalities to date.
The outbreak, which was traced back to two hotels being used to quarantine travelers returning from overseas, has ravaged aged-care homes in the city, causing dozens of deaths.
Early in the pandemic it was considered among the most successful at curbing the virus spread until an outbreak in Melbourne, the country’s second biggest city, that authorities struggled to contain.
With the number of new daily cases falling below 300 in recent days, a mandatary overnight curfew of mask wearing and the shut down of non essential business now appear to be brining the virus under control.