Australians will be among the first in the world to receive a COVID-19 vaccine, if it proves successful, through an agreement between the Australian Government and UK-based drug company AstraZeneca.
A statement released today by the Australian Government outlines that under the deal, every single Australian will be able to receive the University of Oxford COVID-19 vaccine for free, should trials prove successful, safe and effective.
PM Scott Morrison said the Oxford University trial was in a phase three-stage yet more work was still needed to prove its viability.
“The Oxford vaccine is one of the most advanced and promising in the world, and under this deal, we have secured early access for every Australian,” the Prime Minister said.
“If this vaccine proves successful, we will manufacture and supply vaccines straight away under our own steam and make it free for 25 million Australians.”
Scott Morrison, Prime Minister
To date, AstraZeneca’s vaccine has been considered a frontrunner in the global race for a winner, which includes more than 160 candidates.
“However, 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 researchers at the same time to find a vaccine.
“We are taking advice from Australia’s best medical and scientific expertise to ensure that the Government’s work to select, produce and purchase COVID-19 vaccines and treatments is based on the best available knowledge.”
In the statement, The PM also said that the Government remains committed to ensuring early access to the vaccine for countries in our Pacific family, as well as regional partners in Southeast Asia.
The Government has also released Australia’s COVID-19 Vaccine and Treatment Strategy, guided by a group of medical and industry experts.
In short (and it really is a long document), the strategy sets out Australia’s approach to acquiring doses of safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines based on:
- Research and development
- Purchase and manufacturing
- International partnerships
- Regulation and safety immunisation administration and monitoring
The first announcements under the strategy are the signing of a Letter of Intent with AstraZeneca to supply the University of Oxford’s COVID-19 vaccine candidate to Australia.
The Letter of Intent covers vaccine development, production and distribution. It commits to the production of the vaccine in Australia, subject to safety and effectiveness. A final formal agreement will include distribution, timing and price of the vaccine.
The magic question, of course, is when will this happen? At this stage, the final release date is still unknown, although the Government says the project could deliver the first vaccines by the end of 2020 or early next year.
That’s the kind of good news we can all get behind.
Excitement aside, there will undoubtedly still be so many questions to answer around the complexity of how a vaccine might affect international travel outbound and inbound as well as individuals civil rights.
Will it be compulsory to get the vaccine? Will you need to have been vaccinated to travel from Australia and to enter specific countries? Will you need to have been vaccinated to get insurance? Will some people even want to get the vaccination at all?
Clearly, creating, testing and distributing a vaccine is only half of the battle to safely re-connect the world and get people travelling confidently again.
BUT… The positive news is, it appears we are well down the road towards a solution and a form of certainty the global travel industry is so desperate to start planning towards.
Share this story