Australia orders 25 million doses of Oxford University's COVID-19 vaccine

Australia orders 25 million doses of Oxford University's potential COVID-19 vaccine
Emeh Joy

Australia has ordered 25 million doses of the Oxford University's potential COVID-19 vaccine, according to the Prime Minister, Scott Morrison.

Morrison speaking on Wednesday said, "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".

He announced a deal with AstraZeneca, the pharmaceutical company which the vaccine is licensed to.

He said if the vaccine proves to be successful, Australia intends to manufacture and supply vaccines "straight away under our own steam and make it free for 25 million Australians".

The prime minister speaking in a radio interview on Wednesday said he is hopeful the vaccine would be made available early next year. "If it can be done sooner than that, great", he added.

This deal comes after a fresh outbreak of infections in Australia's COVID-19 high-risk zone of Victoria appeared to have eased on Wednesday.

The spike had earlier led to tightening of restrictions which included closing a large part of the state's economy as well as imposing of night curfew.

The prime minister, however, said there is no guarantee that the vaccine would 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".

The University of Oxford's COVID-19 vaccine

Britain's University of Oxford is developing the vaccine called, AZD1222 which is being licensed to British-Swedish pharmaceutical company, AstraZeneca.

According to Morrison, the Oxford University trial of the vaccine was in a phase-three stage and needed more work to prove its viability.

The vaccine is one of the six different coronavirus vaccine candidates in development which the UK had access to, across four different types.

The United Kingdom itself has secured 100 million doses of the vaccine, which is in its phase three trial in Brazil and South Africa.

Preliminary results have shown that it is safe and triggers immune reaction. If approved, those that will receive it first are health workers, people with serious diseases, the elderly and ethnic minorities.

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