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Australia Shortlist of Aust mRNA makers this week

20:11  24 october  2021
20:11  24 october  2021 Source:   aap.com.au

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Health Minister Greg Hunt says the federal government is in the advanced stages of determining a shortlist of companies to take on the role of manufacturing mRNA vaccines in Australia.

Australian companies will begin manufacturing mRNA COVID-19 vaccines to decrease reliance on imports © Mick Tsikas/AAP PHOTOS Australian companies will begin manufacturing mRNA COVID-19 vaccines to decrease reliance on imports

At the moment Australia imports all such mRNA vaccines, like Pfizer, and only manufactures AstraZeneca doses domestically.

"I am expecting an announcement on the shortlist this week," Mr Hunt told reporters in Canberra on Sunday.

Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese said it was a year ago the government said mRNA vaccine manufacturing would be advanced in Australia in nine to 12 months.

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"The 12 months is up and what we have, once again, from the government is too little, too late. They're too slow. They're always behind. Never leading, always following," he told reporters.

However, he did welcome the government's two new vaccination campaigns - one aimed at getting the final 10-15 per cent of Australians jabbed and the other focused on Indigenous people.

"This was one of the points that we were making many months ago," Mr Albanese said.

"We were told ... the reason why ads weren't being played was because there weren't enough vaccines."

The campaigns come as Australia passed 34.2 million vaccinations, reaching nearly 87 per cent first dose coverage for those aged 16 and above and more than 73 per cent fully vaccinated with two doses.

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NSW, Victoria and the ACT have all started easing COVID-19 restrictions in recent weeks.

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews announced a further easing in restrictions for next Friday when the state is expected to reach an 80 per cent double-dosed vaccination rate.

Australia's vaccine rollout co-ordinator John Frewen was pleased to see states putting deadlines on when they hope to ease restrictions.

"It gives people something to work towards but we are also seeing that is having an effect of helping galvanise people to step forward and get vaccinated in time for that," Lieutenant General Frewen told reporters.

Victoria reported 1935 new infections and 11 deaths on Sunday, while NSW had 296 new cases and four deaths and the ACT announced just nine cases.

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