Free COVID vaccine for Australians; Prime Minister

By Rahul Vaimal, Associate Editor
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Scott Morrison
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Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said that Australia is prepared to offer an effective COVID-19 vaccine to its citizens free-of-cost as it inked a deal with Swedish-British pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca to receive its vaccine co-developed with the Oxford University.

Mr. Scott Morrison said that his country has secured “a promising” coronavirus vaccine that be could manufactured at the continent to be administered to its entire population.

“Under this deal, we have secured early access for every Australian. 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,” he said.

AstraZeneca’s candidate is widely seen as a frontrunner to deliver an effective vaccine against the coronavirus. With several countries moving to secure supplies that some fear may lead to a global shortage, Australia said it had signed a letter of intent with AstraZeneca to produce and distribute enough doses for its population.

Morrison, however, cautioned that while AstraZeneca’s candidate is showing early promise, there was no guarantee it would materialize as an effective tool in preventing COVID-19.

Australia’s biggest biotech company CSL Limited was in talks with AstraZeneca to see if the potential COVID-19 vaccine being developed by the British drugmaker could be manufactured locally.

In addition to pressing ahead with securing a potential vaccine, Australia said it had also signed a $17.9 million deal with U.S. medical technology company Becton Dickinson to buy 100 million needles and syringes.