Mon | Nov 29, 2021

Australia signs deal for 25M Moderna doses through next year

Published:Thursday | May 13, 2021 | 10:14 AM
Australia's Health Minister Greg Hunt speaks to the media during a press conference at Parliament House in Canberra, Thursday, May 13, 2021. Australia has reached a supply agreement for 25 million doses of Moderna COVID-19 vaccines. (Lukas Coch/AAP Image via AP)

CANBERRA, Australia (AP) —Australia has reached a supply agreement for 25 million doses of Moderna COVID-19 vaccines in a deal that the government hopes will ensure all Australian adults have access to inoculation this year.

The deal included 10 million doses of the vaccine against the ancestral strain to be delivered in 2021 and 15 million doses of an updated variant booster to be delivered in 2022, US-based Moderna said on Thursday.

The vaccines have yet to be approved by the Australian regulator, the Therapeutic Goods Administration.

Pfizer and AstraZeneca are the only coronavirus vaccines approved for use in Australia.

All three vaccines require two doses.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison said he expected the first 10 million Moderna vaccines to arrive in Australia in the last three months of 2021.

The 15 million booster doses would deal with possible future variants of the virus, he said.

“We're now well into the phase of dealing with what's coming next because the pandemic's not going anywhere,” Morrison said.

Moderna is in discussions with the government to allow its vaccines to be manufactured in Australia.

Australian-made Moderna shots could be available as early as next year, said Brendan Murphy, chairman of Australia's Science and Industry Technical Advisory Group on COVID-19.

AstraZeneca is already manufactured in Australia.

But Moderna promises to provide quicker inoculation, with three weeks between shots as opposed to three months with AstraZeneca.

Pfizer's recommended doses are also three weeks apart.

But Moderna has an advantage in that it does not need to be stored at temperatures as low as Pfizer.

Moderna vaccines would help Australia achieve its aim of inoculating all willing Australian adults within the population of 26 million by the end of the year.

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