American pharmaceutical firm Moderna has done a deal to supply the Australian government with 10 million doses of its COVID-19 vaccine this year and a further 15 million in 2022.
The deal, announced by the company late Wednesday night, adds another Pfizer-style mRNA vaccine to the arsenal for Australia’s vaccine rollout this year.
The vaccination programme has been hit hard by its early reliance on the non-mRNA AstraZeneca vaccine, which has been restricted because of a low risk of blood clotting in patients under 50.
The Moderna jab was 94 per cent effective in its first trials and shares the same mRNA technique to protect patients from the coronavirus.
The supplies remain subject to the regulatory approval of Australia’s Therapeutic Goods Administration, which Moderna said it would apply for shortly. Vaccines from AstraZeneca and Pfizer are already being rolled out, while a vaccine from Novavax is still being trialled.
Local manufacturing possible
Moderna said it was already in talks about establishing production in Australia.
“We appreciate the partnership and support from the government of Australia with this first supply agreement for doses of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine and our variant booster candidates,” Moderna CEO Stéphane Bancel said in a statement.
“As we seek to protect people around the world with our COVID-19 vaccine and potentially our variant booster candidates, we look forward to continuing discussions with Australia about establishing potential local manufacturing opportunities,” he said.
There have been 2.7 million doses administered in Australia, including 400,000 AstraZeneca doses.
Moderna’s vaccine has been authorised in Canada, Israel, the European Union, the United Kingdom, Switzerland, Singapore, Qatar, Taiwan, the Philippines, Brunei and by the World Health Organisation.