Australians will be able to receive a free dose of the coronavirus vaccine being developed by Oxford University, pending successful, safe and effective trials.

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison made the announcement on Wednesday. He said an agreement had been reached between Australia and UK-based drug company AstraZeneca, which is working on stage three trials of a vaccine with the University of Oxford.

“The Oxford vaccine is one of the most advanced and promising in the world, and 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,” Morrison said.

The Australian PM also noted that “there is no guarantee that this, or any other, vaccine will be successful, which is why we are continuing discussions with many parties around the world while backing our own researchers at the same time to find a vaccine.”

At the time of writing, Australia has 23,773 coronavirus cases and 438 related fatalities.

The Australian PM  also remains committed to ensuring early access to the vaccine for countries in the Pacific, as well as regional partners in Southeast Asia.

The Government has also released Australia’s COVID-19 Vaccine and Treatment Strategy, guided by a group of medical and industry experts.

The Strategy sets out Australia’s approach to acquire doses of safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines based on:

  1. Research and development
  2. Purchase and manufacturing
  3.  International partnerships
  4. Regulation and safety Immunisation administration and monitoring

If trials prove safe and effective, the vaccine would be rolled out on a priority basis, with frontline workers and the elderly set to be the first recipients.

The vaccine strategy is expected to be worth billions of dollars and could be available as early as the end of this year or the start of next, if all goes well.

It is also recalled Greece will receive three million doses of the covid-19 vaccine. “Greece will be delivered the first batch of vaccines that the EU will buy from the Oxford vaccine,” Minister of Health, Vasislis Kikilias said on Skai TV on Tuesday. The first shipment is expected to arrive in December on the condition that phase 4 of the clinical trials will be successfully completed in November 2020.

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