The federal government has secured 25 million doses of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine, providing access to a booster or variant vaccine if it is required in the future.
It was confirmed in the 2021-22 Budget that the government will commence an approach to market for mRNA manufacturing capacity in Australia. There are also discussions related to establishing a manufacturing facility within Australia for mRNA vaccines.
This would ensure a secure, long-term supply of the vaccines for potential future pandemics.
The second messenger RNA (mRNA) vaccine purchased by the government, providing access to the current Moderna vaccine or variant-specific versions of the vaccine developed by Moderna. This will address long term immunity and emerging viral variants in the first half of 2022.
Overall, the Moderna vaccine has shown efficacy against symptomatic COVID-19 of 94.1 per cent and 100 per cent efficacy against severe COVID-19. It has also shown strong protection of 90 per cent efficacy against COVID-19 for at least six months after the second dose.
Also, it has been approved by leading regulatory authorities worldwide and used successfully in the UK, Canada, the European Union, the US and Singapore.
The agreement includes 10M doses in 2021 and 15M doses of Moderna’s updated variant booster vaccine in 2022.
Once the vaccine is approved as safe and effective by Australian regulator the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA), supply will commence. The federal government’s expert group advising on vaccine purchases, the Science and Industry Technical Advisory Group, has recommended purchase of the Moderna vaccine.
A complete course of Moderna’s vaccination is likely to be two doses given 28 days apart. It will provide more flexibility for the national vaccine rollout and secures early access to possible vaccinations for new COVID-19 variants.
Australia has five separate agreements to secure more than 195M doses of Moderna vaccines if proved to be effective and safe. Approximately $6B has been invested to support the rollout of the vaccine.