The Morrison government says it has reached an agreement with the British pharmaceutical giant AstraZeneca to supply Australians with the University of Oxford Covid-19 vaccine for free – assuming it clears clinical trials.
The vaccine agreement also includes a $24.7m contract with medical technology company Becton Dickinson for the supply of needles and syringes to make sure there is sufficient supply on hand to roll out the vaccine nationally.
Scott Morrison says Australia has pursued the Oxford vaccine because it is “one of the most advanced and promising in the world”. But the prime minister says Australia will continue negotiations with other parties.
“There is no guarantee that this, or any other, vaccine will be successful, which is why we are continuing our discussions with many parties around the world while backing our own researches at the same time to find a vaccine,” Morrison said in a statement.
The government proposes to sign a letter of intent with AstraZeneca and enter a consumables contract with Becton Dickinson for the supply of needles and syringes. The total cost of the program is likely to be in the billions of dollars.
The government says the initial agreements will cover vaccine development, production and distribution, and it will contain a commitment to produce the vaccine locally. Subsequent agreements will include distribution, timing and the price of the vaccine.
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