Australia plans to vaccinate all citizens against COVID-19 by end of 2021

Sydney, Australia, Nov 13 (efe-epa).- The Australian government plans to immunize the country’s 25 million people against COVID-19 by the end of 2021, its health minister said on Friday.

“Our national goal is to ensure that all Australians who seek to be vaccinated are vaccinated by the end of 2021,” Greg Hunt said Friday.

The vaccination will not be mandatory, but recommended by the authorities.

Hunt made the remarks during his visit to the laboratories of the University of Queensland, in the northeastern city of Brisbane, to learn about the progress of the Australian “V451” vaccine, which is manufactured in the laboratories of the Melbourne-based biotech company CSL.

“The initial data is very clear, that the vaccine is proving to be safe through phase-one clinical trials and it’s proving to produce a positive anti-body response,” Hunt said.

The minister stressed that the fact that it is effective among the elderly “is an especially important outcome, given the vulnerability to elderly around the world from COVID-19.”

CSL is seeking regulatory approvals to begin phase-three of the clinical trials before the end of the year, and agreements have been made for 51 million doses of the vaccine.

However the Pfizer vaccine, which the company recently reported as having a 90-percent effectiveness rate in late-stage clinical trials, could be distributed to health workers and the elderly by March, Hunt said in an interview with local radio earlier in the day.

The Australian government has acquired more than 130 million vaccine doses through agreements with the University of Queensland-CSL, as well as with the United States pharmaceutical companies Pfizer and Novavax, and the British AstraZenaca.

Australia has accumulated some 27,698 infections and 907 deaths since the beginning of the pandemic, of which 20,345 cases and 819 deaths correspond to the southern state of Victoria, the epicenter of the second wave of COVID-19 in the country.

On Friday, Victoria state had gone 14 days without a reported case. EFE-EPA


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