Australia to receive first batch of AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine in January 2021 – PM to say


SYDNEY (Reuters) – Australia will receive the first dose of an AstraZeneca and Oxford University COVID-19 vaccine in January 2021 if the test proves successful, after Canberra agreed to an agreement to buy a second potential vaccine, Prime Minister Scott Morrison Will say on Monday.

FILE PHOTO: The company’s logo for pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca is displayed on a screen on the floor at the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) on April 8, 2019 in New York, US. REUTERS / Brendan McDadid

Australia said that in August it had signed an initial agreement with AstraZeneca for a dose sufficient for a population of about 26 million, to be manufactured locally by pharmaceutical company CSL.

The deal appeared somewhat skeptical when CSL said its priority was building an alternative potential vaccine developed with the University of Queensland (UQ).

Australia will now also purchase 51 million doses of the UQ vaccine, agreeing on an agreement to remove potential barriers.

AstraZeneca would capture the first 3.8 million doses of the vaccine in January and February 2021, and then receive 30 million doses, Morrison would say in extracts from an announcement sent to Reuters.

AstraZeneca’s candidate is seen as a frontrunner in a global race to deliver an effective coronovirus vaccine.

“Australians will be among the first people in the world to receive a safe and effective vaccine, should it pass late stage tests,” Morrison would say.

Under the agreement with UQ and CSL, Australia will purchase 51 million doses of that tie-up vaccine. UQ and CSL candidates are scheduled to begin the Phase Two trials in late 2020 and if all tests are successful it could be rolled out to Australians in mid-2021.

The total cost of both deals would be $ 1.7 billion ($ 1.24 billion), Morrison would say. Should both vaccines prove successful, Australia has reserved the right to donate or sell without any mark-up.

Health officials are discussing who will receive the first dose if the test is successful, Morrison will say. Vulnerable people, and front-line health care workers are likely to be in the first line, a source familiar with the details told Reuters.

The supply agreements come in the form of Australia, which grapples with a second wave of infection in its second most populous state, Victoria. More than 26,000 infections and 753 deaths have been reported in Australia.

(The correct story to show this announcement will be made on Tuesday, not on Monday).

Reporting by Colin Packham; Editing by Frances Carey

Our standard:Thomson Reuters Trust Theory.
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