AstraZeneca’s Covid-19 vaccine production begins in Australia

FILE PHOTO: A test tube labelled with the Vaccine is seen in front of AstraZeneca logo in this illustration taken, September 9, 2020. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration

Canberra: CSL Limited, a global specialty biotechnology company headquartered in Melbourne, Australia, has started production of the University of Oxford/AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine, Australian Media has reported.

Thirty million doses of the vaccine will enter manufacturing in Victoria on Monday, according to Sydney’s 2GB radio.

“[The vaccine] is going to be voluntary but we will encourage as many people as possible,” Health Minister Greg Hunt told 2GB on Monday. “We are confident that we will have a very high take-up amongst the Australian population,” he added.

The Sydney Morning Herald reported that it will take CSL about 50 days to completely process the vaccine. According to the newspaper, the company has separate contracts with AstraZeneca and the Australian government for the production of the vaccine.

The AstraZeneca vaccine still needs to be approved by Australia’s Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA). Phase three clinical trials of the vaccine are expected to wrap up by the end of this year.

According to Health Minister Greg Hunt, the vaccine will start to be available to the public in March.