Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced on Tuesday that the nation would be manufacturing a COVID-19 vaccine and will roll it out for free to all citizens. A much-needed state initiative, we must say!
Lately, there has been plenty of progress relating to vaccine development, since Russia announced and approved the first-ever in the world. The advancement for the cure of this somewhat cursed virus has sped up, whereas its spread had already slowed down, and things are almost back to normal.
Recently, the outbreak of infections in Australia’s coronavirus hot zone of Victoria eased further on Wednesday as the virus spread is slowing down all over. However, in the last month, Australia has seen the nation grieve from a wave of infections. Still, at 24,000 cases and 438 deaths, the country is fairing much better than many other developed nations.
Now, Australia has signed a deal with British drugmaker AstraZeneca to produce and distribute enough doses of a coronavirus vaccine for its population of 25 million. The country’s administration has proved that the well-being of its citizens is the topmost priority.
Prime Minister Morrison said on Wednesday, “Should we be in a position for the trials to be successful; we would hope that this would be made available early next year. It would be great if it’s done anytime sooner.
“All Australians will be offered doses, but a medical panel will determine the priority list of vaccine receivers. The doctors and health care workers have played a critical role in controlling the spread of the virus, hence working on the forefront, they’d be first prioritized. The next would be focusing on the most vulnerable people with a medical history, the elderly, people with disabilities, in terms of the speed of roll-out,” Health Minister Greg Hunt told Sky News.
Authorities plan to prioritize the areas where the risk of transmission is high. Another critical factor while making the preference is the age group, and as to how it works on them differently.
“If it does work and it’s 80 to 90 percent effective, then absolutely it will be a game-changer,” said Mr. Sutton. However, he cautioned that extensive testing is still at a preliminary stage. “So, we shouldn’t hang our hats on a single vaccine.”
The country has also signed a $17.9 million deal with U.S. medical technology company Becton Dickinson for the purchase of 100 million needles and syringes. One thing is for sure; if that viable vaccine should arrive, the nation will be ready to distribute it and get done with the virus soon enough.
Vaccine Development Paces From Several Research Centers
There are currently more than 160 various vaccines in pre-clinical and clinical trials, several of which are in Australia. Morrison, therefore, added that the country was not limiting its search for a vaccine to AstraZeneca’s candidate.
AstraZeneca last month said positive outcomes came in so far on its vaccine for Covid-19, already in large-scale human trials and widely seen as the front-runner in the race for a shot against the coronavirus. The vaccine, called AZD1222, was developed by the Britain’s University of Oxford and licensed to AstraZeneca.
Mr. Morrison said Australia was also looking for other vaccine deals, including with the University of Queensland and its partner, Australian company CSL Ltd. CSL estimates first doses of the vaccine will be available for emergency use by the middle of 2021.