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Australia is currently focussing on manufacturing the British-developed AstraZeneca/Oxford University vaccine. The Government had planned to buy a vaccine being developed by the University of Queensland and pharmaceutical company CSL. However, the trials were recently cancelled after some participants returned false HIV positive results.
Fifty million doses of the AstraZeneca/Oxford University vaccine are currently being developed under license in Melbourne, with the first batch expected to be ready by Australia Day (26 January 2021). This means a rollout could potentially begin as early as February 2021, ahead of the original March 2021 plan.
Australia is also due to receive a shipment of the vaccine next year – 1.9 million does in January and 1.9 million doses in February.
The vaccine won’t be released for use though until the clinical trial and manufacturing data are reviewed and approved by the Therapeutic Goods Administration.
Health Minister Greg Hunt said that a vaccine will be available to anyone who needs it by October 2021. However, health, medical and aged-care workers and critical industries will be the first to receive the vaccination.
Experts say that though news that the University of Queensland's coronavirus vaccine trial has been cancelled may be disappointing, it should give the public confidence in the process the government has for developing vaccines.
One of the project's main researchers, Professor Paul Young, said the cause for cancellation was not a safety issue but ‘a diagnostic interference issue’.
You can read more about the University of Queensland’s trial on the ABC News website.