Sydney, Australia, May 13 (EFE).- The Australian government announced Thursday the acquisition of 25 million doses of the Moderna Covid-19 vaccine amid criticism over its slow immunization campaign.
The deal with Moderna, whose vaccine has yet to be approved by Australia’s regulatory authorities, entails the delivery of 10 million doses this year and 15 million booster doses against virus variants in 2022, according to a statement from Prime Minister Scott Morrison.
The government also announced that it is negotiating with Moderna for local production of its mRNA vaccine, which require two doses in less than a month.
Australia, which has signed five agreements covering 195 million doses if proven safe and effective, began its vaccination campaign in February and was initially scheduled to complete it in October.
However, the free and voluntary immunization plan for the 25 million population has been delayed for various reasons such as importing problems and side effects of the AstraZeneca drug.
As a result of these delays, experts and opponents criticized the government for not having diversified its vaccine portfolio, having only AstraZeneca, which is produced locally, and that of Pfizer/BioNTech.
To date, the government, which has managed the pandemic well, has administered less than 3 million doses and plans to finish vaccinating by the end of the year.
Australia, which closed its borders in March 2020 due to the pandemic and intends to reopen them sometime in 2022, has recorded some 30,000 cases including 910 deaths, and for months it has lived as normal, only interrupted by isolated outbreaks. EFE