Australia secures access to another two potential COVID-19 vaccines

The Morrison government has entered into four agreements with coronavirus vaccine makers, paving the way for a 2021 rollout if they prove safe and effective.

Kate Bingham, Chair of the UK Government's Vaccine Taskforce, starts her Novavax trial at the Royal Free Hospital, north London, Tuesday 13 October, 2020.

Kate Bingham, Chair of the UK Government's Vaccine Taskforce, starts her Novavax trial at the Royal Free Hospital, north London, Tuesday 13 October, 2020. Source: AAP

Australia will have access to 134 million doses of coronavirus vaccines after the federal government secured two more agreements.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison on Thursday will announce a deal with Novavax to supply 40 million vaccine doses and Pfizer-BioNTech for 10 million doses.

This brings the government's COVID-19 vaccine investment to more than $3.2 billion, adding to deals with University of Queensland-CSL and Oxford-AstraZeneca.

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Australia will build the southern hemisphere's largest flu vaccine manufacturing plant.
Australia will build the southern hemisphere's largest flu vaccine manufacturing plant. Source: Astrazeneca


Access to the vaccines is subject to clinical trial outcomes on the safety and effectiveness of each candidate, and approval by the Therapeutic Goods Administration.

The Novavax vaccine, made in the United States and the Czech Republic, will require two doses per person, with the first supply expected to arrive in early 2021.



The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine candidate is also set to arrive in a similar timeframe and will be made in the United States, Belgium and Germany.

The Pfizer-BioNTech is a messenger ribonucleic acid (mRNA) type vaccine and the Novovax vaccine is a protein-type vaccine.

Australian Health Minister Greg Hunt arrives during House of Representatives Question Time at Parliament House in Canberra, Thursday, October 29, 2020.
Australian Health Minister Greg Hunt arrives during House of Representatives Question Time at Parliament House in Canberra, Thursday, October 29, 2020. Source: AAP


Health Minister Greg Hunt said Australia's COVID-19 vaccine portfolio now had two protein vaccines and one mRNA and one viral vector type vaccine.

"The goal and the expectation is that Australians who sought vaccination will be vaccinated within 2021," Mr Hunt said.

Health and aged care workers, and the elderly and vulnerable will be the first to gain access to a vaccine.

People will be able to initially access the vaccines from GPs, GP respiratory clinics, state and territory vaccination sites and workplaces such as aged care facilities.

It will not be mandatory and will be made available free of charge.

NSW Police officers check cars crossing from Victoria into New South Wales (NSW) at a border check point in the NSW-Victoria border town of Albury.
NSW Police officers check cars crossing from Victoria into New South Wales (NSW) at a border checkpoint in the NSW-Victoria border town of Albury. Source: AAP Image/Lukas Coch


The deal comes as the Queensland government is coming under increasing pressure from business leaders and other states to loosen its border restrictions.

The Sunshine State has reopened to regional NSW residents for the first time in almost four months, but Sydneysiders are still banned.

The hardline stance is looking increasingly untenable now the border between NSW and Victoria is reopening on November 23.

"Very proudly I say NSW will be the only jurisdiction in Australia that will be welcoming residents of all states, of all jurisdictions," NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian said on Wednesday.



Ms Berejiklian challenged her Queensland counterpart to follow suit, but Annastacia Palaszczuk was unmoved.

Queensland won't make any decisions on opening its border to greater Sydney or Victoria before the end of the month, Ms Palaszczuk said.

Tasmania has scheduled its reopening to New South Wales residents on Friday.

It is hoped Victorians will be able to visit from December 1 if the state's case numbers remain low.

Passengers begin boarding the first Qantas flight between Sydney and Adelaide since COVID-19 border restrictions were lifted, Sydney Domestic Airport, Sydney, Thursday, September 24, 2020.
Passengers begin boarding the first Qantas flight between Sydney and Adelaide since COVID-19 border restrictions were lifted, Sydney Domestic Airport Source: AAP Image/Dean Lewins


Western Australia has flagged reopening its borders to all states and territories from November 14, although some restrictions will remain for people from NSW and Victoria.

New South Wales reported three locally transmitted infections and another six cases in hotel quarantine on Wednesday.

All three local cases were household contacts of people already in isolation.

Victoria recorded no new cases of coronavirus and no deaths for a fifth consecutive day.


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Published 5 November 2020 at 4:36am
Source: AAP, SBS