Australia to produce 85 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine

Australia will produce and distribute 84.8 million doses of Oxford University's COVID-19 vaccine by early 2021, if successful, under a multi-million dollar deal with two pharmaceutical companies announced Monday.
The agreement, worth about 1,240 million dollars (1,048 million euros), will allow the Australian company CSL to manufacture a large part of the doses of the vaccine developed by the University of Oxford and the British pharmaceutical AstraZeneca, as well as the vaccines in which the University of Queensland is working in Australia.
The inhabitants of the oceanic country "will have early access to 3.8 million vaccines from the University of Oxford in January and February 2021," Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said in a statement.
The development of the Oxford / AstraZeneca vaccine against the new coronavirus is currently in phase 3, while the University of Queensland has already shown that its vaccine works in animals in preclinical testing.
Morrison stressed that vaccines have to be safe, effective and meet health requirements before being distributed to Australia's population of 25 million, although vaccination against COVID-19 will not be mandatory.
The announcement comes at a time when Australia is fighting a second outbreak of the epidemic with its epicenter in the city of Melbourne, an outbreak that began at the end of last June when restrictions were allegedly violated in the quarantine centers for travelers that came to the country from abroad.
Australia has accumulated some 26,300 cases of COVID-19 since the beginning of the pandemic, of which 762 resulted in deaths, most of them caused by the outbreak of Melbourne, which is beginning to subside thanks to the strict confinement measures decreed in that city , the second most populated in the country.