Vastavam web: A fresh outbreak of infections in Australia’s coronavirus hot zone of Victoria eased further on Wednesday, while the country agreed a deal to secure a potential COVID-19 vaccine that it plans to roll out cost-free to citizens. Australia has signed a deal with British drugmaker AstraZeneca (AZN.L) to produce and distribute enough doses of a potential coronavirus vaccine for its population of 25 million, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said late on Tuesday.
All Australians will be offered doses but a medical panel will determine the priority list of vaccine recipients. “Naturally you would be focusing on the most vulnerable, the elderly, health workers, people with disabilities in terms of the speed of roll out,” Health Minister Greg Hunt told Sky News.
Health authorities would also have to take into account where the highest risk of transmission is and how the vaccine works in different age groups when deciding who should get it first, Victoria’s chief health officer Brett Sutton said. “If it does work and it’s 80 to 90% effective, then absolutely it will be a game changer,” Sutton said, although he cautioned that broad testing was still at a preliminary stage. “So we shouldn’t hang our hats on a single vaccine.”