Australia’s frontline healthcare workers likely to be first to receive COVID vaccine

Matt Woodley

7/09/2020 3:26:25 PM

The key terms have been laid out for supply deals that could deliver Australia millions of vaccine doses as early as January 2021.

Scott Morrison talking to vaccine scientists
Both the AstraZeneca and University of Queensland deals are contingent on the respective candidates passing phase three clinical trials. (Image: AAP)

The non-binding Heads of Agreement, involving the Federal Government, Melbourne-based biotech company CSL, and Oxford University vaccine partner AstraZeneca, could see up to 84.8 million doses of two separate vaccine candidates delivered by the middle of next year.
According to Prime Minister Scott Morrison, should both vaccines prove successful, the deal will be valued at $1.7 billion and see an initial batch of 3.8 million doses of Oxford University and AstraZeneca’s AZD1222 candidate arrive as early as January.
Should this eventuate, it is expected vulnerable people and frontline healthcare workers will likely be given priority access.
All up, the Government expects to receive around 30 million doses of AZD1222, followed by 51 million doses of the University of Queensland’s (UQ) COVID-19 vaccine candidate, the first tranche of which would be ready by mid-2021.
Both deals are contingent on the respective candidates passing phase three clinical trials.
‘There are no guarantees that these vaccines will prove successful; however, the agreement puts Australia at the top of the queue if our medical experts give the vaccines the green light,’ Prime Minister Morrison said.
‘By securing the production and supply agreements, Australians will be among the first in the world to receive a safe and effective vaccine, should it pass late-stage testing.
‘Australians will gain free access to a COVID-19 vaccine in 2021 if trials prove successful.’
AZD1222 is among the most advanced vaccine candidates globally and is currently being evaluated in phase 2/3 trials in the UK and Brazil, and in a phase 1/2 trial in South Africa. It has also begun enrolling approximately 30,000 volunteers across 80 sites for a large-scale phase three trial in the US.
The trial is primarily designed to determine if the vaccine can prevent symptomatic COVID-19 after two doses, but will also evaluate if the vaccine candidate can prevent SARS-CoV-2 infection regardless of symptoms and whether it can prevent severe COVID-19.
Meanwhile, UQ’s V451 candidate is currently undergoing phase one clinical trials to assess safety and immunogenicity in healthy volunteers, which should it prove successful, will progress to a phase 2b/3 clinical trial commencing in late 2020.
The Federal Government’s in-principle agreement to purchase 51 million doses is based on a two doses per-person regime, while AZD1222 would also require two doses to be effective.
The update comes after concerns emerged following the Government’s first vaccine announcement that it may not have been possible for CSL to provide local manufacturing support for AZD1222.
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Dr Waki Tabart   8/09/2020 1:54:30 PM

The Oxford University vaccine – or the ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 vaccine – is what’s known as a viral vector vaccine. This class of vaccine uses another kind of virus as a vehicle for Covid-19 genetic data. In this case, the ChAdOx1 vaccine uses a weakened chimpanzee adenovirus, which causes the common cold in chimpanzees. PERSONALLY I don't think I will be wanting this type of vaccine especially if being rushed through as it sounds to be. I will be waiting for a vaccine that doesnt contain a live virus as i am concerned with the speed these are being released. THe UQ trial vaccine sounds a safer type to me.

Dr Raymond Yeow   8/09/2020 2:47:30 PM

Operation Warp Speed ----- ---- spurring competition for vaccine development ?..?...?