Australia has secured 25 million doses of the coronavirus vaccine produced by US pharmaceuticals manufacturer Moderna, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said on Thursday.
The government acquired the doses "to further diversify our vaccine portfolio as well as provide access to a booster or variant vaccine should this be required in the future," dpa news agency quoted Morrison as saying.
Morrison said the Australian government also remains in discussions with Moderna in relation to establishing a manufacturing facility in Australia for mRNA vaccines.
Domestic manufacturing would ensure a secure, long-term supply of Moderna's mRNA-based vaccines against Covid-19, including variants, and for potential future pandemics, Morrison said.
The agreement includes 10 million doses in 2021 and 15 million doses of Moderna's updated variant booster vaccine in 2022.
Use of the Moderna vaccine still needs to be approved as safe and effective by Australia's regulator, the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA).
An application by Moderna to the TGA is expected shortly, according to the Prime Minister.
People aged under 50 are set to receive the Moderna vaccine, Australian news wire AAP reported.
A complete course of Moderna's vaccination is likely to be two doses given 28 days apart.
The country of around 25 million people fell far short of its initial target to administer 4 million Covid-19 jabs by the end of March, and last month scrapped its original pledge to vaccinate its entire adult population by October.
As of May 11, just over 2.8 million jabs were administered.
So far, Australia has been using the Pfizer and AstraZeneca vaccines.
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