Speaking at AstraZeneca’s North Ryde facility in Sydney on Aug. 19, alongside federal Chief Medical Officer Paul Kelly, and AstraZeneca country president Liz Chatwin Morrison declared, the government had “signed a letter of intent with AstraZeneca,” and if trials pass the advanced stages of testing, a vaccine for the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus commonly known as coronavirus, will be “manufactured here in Australia.”
AstraZeneca has partnered with Oxford University to develop “one of the leading vaccine candidates,” Chatwin said. It is among 160 other vaccine projects around the world, among them, one is at Queensland University.
AstraZeneca’s goal is to offer the vaccine at “no profit during the pandemic,” Chatwin revealed.
“The next steps, of course, are getting down into the details of contractual agreements, the numbers, the timelines, the doses, the pricing,” she said.
The letter of intent ensures both parties are committed to reaching an agreement with each other and are not dealing with anyone else.
Federal health minister Greg Hunt will be leading negotiations on a final agreement.
Currently, the deal is classified as “commercial in confidence”—meaning that disclosure may result in damage to the other party’s intellectual property, interests, or trade secrets—further information will not be disclosed.
Morrison did reveal, that Australia has also secured a $25 million deal in syringes and needles with American medical technology company Becton Dickinson.
Free Vaccine For All
The aim is to have the vaccine available for next year, if not earlier but without “cutting corners” or “undue haste,” Morrison said. It is estimated 160 vaccine projects are taking place globally.
Morrison wants to see the vaccine distributed free to “25 million Australians.”
“I’d be encouraging people to take it on. I’ll certainly be taking it on; my family will be taking it on,” he said.
“Get it out across Australia and that we can get Australia back to normal as quickly as we possibly can.”
An effective vaccination program will require 95 percent take-up rate across the country.
Morrison had hinted about making the COVID-19 vaccine mandatory. But he has not said so outright, instead choosing to cite how when he was Social Services Minister he introduced legislation called No jab, no play. Under the legislation, children had to be vaccinated to attend childcare or kindergarten unless they had a medical exemption.
Chief Medical Officer Michael Kelly later clarified that initially, the vaccine would be voluntary.
Reports of compulsory vaccines trials using unapproved drugs on employees have emerged from China in recent months. On July 5, Epoch Times reported at least four state-owned companies were forcing employees to take vaccine trials in an attempt to become the worlds first country to pass phase 3 trials.
Meanwhile, in Britain, 100,000 people have volunteered for vaccine trials. Studies will be conducted by government-approved institutes, Oxford University and Imperial College London.
Brazil and South Africa are due to start trials in the United States next year. Currently, there are 29 clinical trials on humans taking place.
An expert panel led by former Chief Medical Officer Brendan Murphy is looking at all options available.
“We’re certainly not putting all our eggs in one basket here. It’s part of a more diversified approach. But this one is well advanced,” Morrison said.