Australia is securing two more COVID-19 vaccines, bringing the government's investment in the program to $3.2 billion

Prime Minister Scott Morrison (Photo by Brook Mitchell/Getty Images)
  • Australia has secured two more COVID-19 vaccine candidates.
  • Under new deals, Novavax will supply 40 million vaccine doses for Australia, while Pfizer and BioNTech will supply 10 million.
  • This brings the number of vaccine candidates Australia will have access to up to four.
  • Visit Business Insider Australia’s homepage for more stories.

Australia has secured two more COVID-19 vaccines.

Under new agreements, US-based biotech company Novavax will supply 40 million vaccine doses to Australia, while Pfizer and BioNTech will provide 10 million if they are deemed safe and effective. It’s a $1.5 million investment that brings the federal government’s investment in coronavirus vaccines to more than $3.2 billion.

All up, the federal government has gained access to four coronavirus vaccines and 134 million doses under the COVID-19 Vaccine and Treatment Strategy. The other two come from the federal government’s agreement to buy the University of Oxford and AstraZeneca vaccine, as well as an Aussie vaccine candidate from the University of Queensland and CSL Limited.

PM Morrison said having access to different coronavirus vaccines gives Australians the “best shot at getting early access to a vaccine, should trials prove successful.”

“We aren’t putting all our eggs in one basket and we will continue to pursue further vaccines should our medical experts recommend them,” he said in a statement.

“There are no guarantees that these vaccines will prove successful, however our strategy puts Australia at the front of the queue, if our medical experts give the vaccines the green light.”

The newly announced vaccines are slated to become available in Australia by early-mid 2021, should they be approved by the Therapeutic Goods Administration.

Federal health minister Greg Hunt said Australia’s portfolio includes two protein vaccines, one mRNA and one viral vector type vaccine. He added that the goal was to have a vaccine available to those who want it during 2021.

“There are no surprises, health and aged care workers and the elderly and vulnerable will be the first to gain access to a vaccine that’s deemed safe and effective,” he said.

The federal government is working with states, territories, medical experts and industry bodies on a framework for the roll out the vaccines. And while the vaccines will be free, they won’t be mandatory.

Globally, Australia is part of the COVAX programme, which gives participating countries access to a range of COVID-19 vaccine candidates. The federal government will also donate vaccines to partners in the Pacific and Southeast Asia.

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