Australia will request proposals from companies on Friday (May 21) to develop domestic manufacturing of mRNA vaccines in order to plan for potential pandemics and support long-term health needs, according to Industry Minister Christian Porter.
According to Reuters, Porter would say that the federal government will target consumer demand for two months beginning on Friday, while maintaining talks with established drug makers.
“Through this approach to market, the (government) is establishing a partnership approach to making sure Australia has the opportunity to produce mRNA vaccines and other potential therapeutic products using this technology,” Porter will say.
The messenger ribonucleic acid (mRNA) vaccines prompt the body to make a protein that is part of the virus, triggering an immune response. Pfizer and Moderna use mRNA technology in their COVID-19 vaccines.
Australia uses Pfizer’s vaccine, branded Comirnaty, to vaccinate people younger than 50 after authorities restricted the use of AstraZeneca vaccines, that use a different technology and are produced locally, to below-50s due to blood clot concerns.
After agreeing to purchase 25 million COVID-19 doses from Moderna, Australian authorities announced last week that they were in talks with the firm to develop domestic manufacturing of mRNA vaccines.
Despite the fact that Australia has done much better than many other developing countries in terms of pandemic containment, with just under 30,000 cases and 910 deaths, the COVID-19 vaccine roll-out has fallen short of its original dose goals.
The nationwide immunisation campaign has recently picked up steam, with roughly one-third of the 3.3 million doses delivered in the last three weeks. The federal budget of Australia expects that the country’s 20 million adult citizens will be vaccinated by the end of this year.