Australia to produce own AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine by March

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Australia is on track to manufacture and administer its own version of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine by the end of March, the health minister said on Friday.

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Health Minister Greg Hunt was speaking at biotechnology company CSL Ltd.’s plant in Melbourne where the first doses are nearing completion.

The first of Australia’s 20 million doses of German manufactured Pfizer vaccine is to be administered in late February.

The first of the 1.2 million doses of overseas-made AstraZeneca vaccine is to be available in Australia by early March, although the Australian regulator has yet to approve it.

The government maintains that Australia’s relatively low incidence of COVID-19 does not justify emergency vaccine approvals.

The government expects that everyone among Australia’s population of 26 million who wants to be vaccinated and is over the age of 16 will have access to a vaccine by October.

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