Commonwealth seeking information on organisations that could manufacture COVID-19 vaccine onshore

By Shannon Jenkins

Tuesday August 11, 2020

(Image: Adobe/vdeineka)

The Department of Health and the Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources are looking for manufacturers that have the capability and capacity to make and distribute a COVID-19 vaccine onshore.

In a request for information published on Monday, the departments have said they are particularly interested in whether manufacturers are willing to alter their capability and capacity to support the manufacture of COVID-19 vaccines and treatments “at population-scale”.

“In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Australian government is working to seek early access to and delivery of safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines and treatments as soon as they are available,” the RFI states.

“The government is conducting an audit of onshore capacity and capability to complement existing information and help inform possible COVID-19 vaccine and treatment manufacturing scenarios.

“The audit will assess current domestic industry capability and identify where opportunities exist to utilise, expand, modify or repurpose capability and capacity to support the onshore manufacture, distribution and administration of COVID-19 vaccines and treatments.”

The departments noted that respondents should be organisations that are already regulated through the Therapeutic Goods Administration, or that are likely to seek regulation.

Respondents can make submissions to the RFI until August 20.

Read more: Humanity cannot afford a COVID‑19 patent battle

Scott Morrison on Friday said the national cabinet had been updated on “vaccine progress”, but acknowledged that the government does not know when a vaccine will be developed.

“Australia is positioning itself well to take advantage and be in a position to be able to manufacture and supply vaccines should they be developed. There are many projects that are underway around the world and we have a process for identifying those that we believe we can take an early position on,” he said.

“But the other thing Australia has been saying and supported strongly by the premiers and chief ministers, and I made this point earlier in the week at the Aspen Forum, and that is whoever finds this vaccine must share it. Any country that were to find this vaccine and not make it available around the world without restraint, I think would be judged terribly by history.”

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