Australia, AstraZeneca ink COVID-19 vaccine deal to ensure free vaccination for all citizens
If successful, vaccines made in Australian would be shared with the country's neighbors, an official said.
Australia has announced a deal to manufacture a potential coronavirus vaccine being developed by British-Swedish pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca.
“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,” Prime Minister Scott Morrison said in a statement Wednesday.
Morrison said the Oxford University trial was in a phase-three stage and more work was needed to prove its viability.
“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,” Morrison said.
Morrison later suggested an Australian-manufactured vaccine would be shared with the country's neighbors, but offered few details.
He said he’d recently discussed vaccines with Indonesian President Joko Widodo, Papua New Guinea Prime Minister James Marape and Fiji Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama.
“Australia will also play an important role in supporting our Pacific family,” Morrison told reporters.
"A vaccine will complement the other tools we have, not replace them," said director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.
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Stating that everything is being decided by experts with a scientific point of view, the Union health minister expressed confidence that the COVID-19 vaccine will be ready in the next three to four months