SYDNEY, AAP – Australians can soon start being inoculated against COVID-19 using an Australian-made vaccine.
The nation’s medicine regulator overnight approved more than 830,000 doses of Melbourne-made AstraZeneca vaccine, confirming they are of the same quality as those made overseas.
“Testing of the vaccine batches in our Canberra laboratories plus review of extensive manufacturing documentation, has ensured that the locally-manufactured vaccine has exactly the same composition and performance as the overseas-manufactured vaccine,” the Therapeutic Goods Administrations said in a statement.
“We will now be able to provide secure access to large numbers of doses of a domestically-produced vaccine, with the Australian government having procured 50 million doses for delivery in the coming months.”
The approval is a shot in the arm for the federal government’s vaccination rollout, which has copped criticism for slow progress.
The locally-produced AstraZeneca doses will be used as part of the ‘phase 1b’ vaccination program which started on Monday and will be available at more than 4000 providers including GP clinics and official health services.
“(Regulatory) approval is required for each and every batch of any vaccine supplied in Australia,” the administration said.
“All subsequent batches of the Melbourne-manufactured vaccine completed in the coming weeks and months will go through the same individual batch testing and release process.”
CSL’s Melbourne facilities are producing 50 million doses of AstraZeneca vaccine.
So far 62,000 people within the aged care sector have received the vaccine.
Phase 1b will see six million Australians get their jabs, mostly via GP clinics.
The program takes in everyone over the age of 70, along with Indigenous Australians over 55 and younger adults with a medical condition or disability.
Workers deemed critical or high risk can also apply.