More than 800,000 Australian-made doses of the AstraZeneca COVID vaccine have been approved for use. Professor John Skerritt from the Therapeutic Goods Administration joins me from Canberra. Professor. Good morning to you Professor. When will the Aussie vaccine now be rolled out?
Well, the trucks are being loaded and so forth as we speak. So, this vaccine is going straight out now it's been authorised for use in Australia.
You've been conducting batch testing on our version of the vaccine. What have you been looking for?
Well, our laboratories - and we're fortunate we have our own laboratories in our building, well-staffed and well resourced - have been looking to see the vaccine is the same as the overseas made vaccine, that it doesn't have any contaminants in it, that the concentrations are the same, and also we look at a lot of documentation provided by the company. It's a fairly extensive process, but we're confident the product is exactly the same as a vaccine produced in other countries.
The initial goal was to vaccinate 4 million by the end of March, we're a long way off that. Will vaccination rates now ramp up that we're producing our own vaccine?
It certainly will. And we were very lucky but also showing good forethought, but we have arranged as a country to manufacture 50 million doses of this vaccine onshore. In itself, that's enough to vaccinate every man, woman and child in Australia. Of course, we have enough to vaccinate people three times over, with two other sources of vaccines. Certainly we can ramp up now.
Professor John Skerritt, good luck with the rollout. Thanks for your time.