Australia Secures Covid19 Vaccine Deal With AstraZaneca, Says Will Administer Free Of Charge To Citizens
Australia on Tuesday cemented a deal with the drugmaker AstraZeneca to supply a potential Covid-19 vaccine to its entire population free of charge, as announced by the government.
The country has joined the race in a line of nations racing to lock in supplies of the drug should trials succeed.
British-based AstraZeneca is developing the vaccine in partnership with Oxford University, with advanced trials now underway with thousands of volunteers across multiple countries.
In a statement released Tuesday, Australian Prime Minister, Scott Morrison, revealed his administration’s intent to manufacture and distribute the vaccine free of charge to citizens.
“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.
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.”
“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,” he added.
Morrison added that the deal is still in early stages, with both parties having signed a Letter of Intent. He however said his country is relying on AstraZaneca, as one of the most advanced vaccines so far.
A final formal agreement at a later stage will lay out the finer details of the deal, such as pricing and distribution. However, the Australian government has previously indicated that it will spend billions of dollars on its vaccine strategy.
AstraZeneca released early results of its closely watched Phase 1/2 trial in late July, which suggested that its vaccine candidate was safe and induces an immune response.
The Phase 2/3 trials will now aim to prove whether the vaccine protects people against the novel coronavirus. Results are expected later this year, and will depend on the rate of infection within the trial communities, AstraZeneca said.