Canberra, May 14 (MNN) Australian Prime Minister Scot Morrison has said that his government has secured 25 million doses of Moderna COVID-19 vaccine to further diversify the country’s vaccine portfolio as well as provide access to a booster or variant vaccine, if required in the future.
“As confirmed in the 2021-22 Budget, the government will commence an approach to market for mRNA manufacturing capacity in Australia,” he said on Wednesday.
The government also remained in discussions with Moderna in relation to establishing a manufacturing facility in Australia for mRNA vaccines.
“Onshore manufacturing would ensure a secure, long-term supply of Moderna’s mRNA-based vaccines against COVID-19, including variants, and for potential future pandemics,” he said.
This is the second messenger RNA (mRNA) vaccine to be purchased by the Australian government, providing access to the current Moderna vaccine or variant-specific versions of the vaccine developed by Moderna, to address longer term immunity or emerging viral variants in the first half of 2022.
To date, the Moderna vaccine has shown an overall vaccine efficacy against symptomatic COVID-19 of 94.1 per cent, and 100 per cent efficacy against severe COVID-19. It has also shown strong protection of 90 per cent efficacy against COVID-19 for at least six months after the second dose.
The Moderna vaccine has been approved by leading regulatory authorities across the world and is being used successfully in the United Kingdom, Canada, the European Union, the United States and Singapore.
The agreement includes 10 million doses in 2021 and 15 million doses of Moderna’s updated variant booster vaccine in 2022.
Supply in Australia will only commence should the vaccine be approved as safe and effective by Australia’s regulator, the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA). An application by Moderna to the TGA is expected shortly.
The Science and Industry Technical Advisory Group, the Australian Government’s expert group advising on vaccine purchases, has recommended the purchase of the Moderna vaccine.
As Australia looks to 2022, the Moderna vaccine provides a strong booster and emerging variants supply if required.
A complete course of Moderna’s vaccination is likely to be two doses given 28 days apart.
The Moderna vaccine diversifies Australia’s supply of COVID-19 vaccines, provides more flexibility for the national vaccine rollout, and secures early access to possible vaccinations for emerging COVID-19 variants of concern circulating around the world.
Australia has five separate agreements to secure more than 195 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines if they are proved to be safe and effective.
Around 6 billion dollars has been invested to support the COVID-19 vaccine rollout.