Where Australia is at with COVID vaccines

Robyn Wuth
·2-min read

Australia has entered into four separate agreements for the supply of COVID-19 vaccines if they are proven safe and effective.

PFIZER/BIONTECH

* The federal government has brought forward to early March the rollout of a COVID-19 vaccine developed by Pfizer and Germany's BioNTech.

* Priority will be given to frontline workers in health care, hotel quarantine and border management.

* Elderly people in aged care homes will also be among the first Australians to get the jab, pending its approval by Australia's Therapeutic Goods Administration.

UNIVERSITY OF OXFORD/ASTRAZENECA

* The second major vaccine candidate - developed by AstraZeneca and Oxford University - is expected to be available for use in Australia by end-March.

* Britain has administered the first AstraZeneca shots, outside of the trial phase, this week.

* Australia has secured just under 54 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine, with 50 million doses being produced onshore by CSL in Victoria, which has already started manufacturing doses.

* The Pfizer vaccine is harder to manage than the AstraZeneca jab because it must be stored and transported at minus 70 degrees Celsius, while the latter can be kept in a refrigerator.

NOVAVAX

* US firm Novavax is running a late-stage trial with data due in the first half of 2021. It expects to start a large-scale trial in the United States this month.

* Phase 1/2 clinical trials are currently being conducted in Australia and the US, while large-scale Phase 3 clinical trials are now underway in the UK involving up to 15,000 volunteers.

* The vaccine is being tested in adults from 18 to 84 years of age in different populations, people living with HIV, and those with other chronic conditions.

* If the Novavax vaccine is successful, it is expected that 51 million doses will be made available in Australia during 2021.

COVAX FACILITY

* The federal government has joined the COVAX Facility as part of a global effort to support rapid, fair and equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines.

* Currently 188 countries around the world have entered into the COVAX Facility.

* Participation of countries like Australia means the facility can invest in a diverse portfolio of potential COVID-19 vaccines and support vaccine manufacturers.

* It aims to mobilise 2 billion doses for the world by the end of 2021, addressing the pandemic's acute phase.

* COVAX is coordinated by the global health partnership Gavi with help from member countries, the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations, the World Health Organisation and UNICEF.

Source: Australian Government Department of Health