According to reporting by the Australian Financial Review, the provisional approval will mean that adults who are 18 or older will be able to take two doses of the drug, between four to twelve weeks apart.
The Australian federal government has ordered almost 54 million doses of the vaccine, with CSL to start manufacturing within the country from the end of next month. CSL has been tasked with manufacturing 50 million doses.
One of the main benefits of the Oxford University – AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine is that it can be held in normal refrigerators. The Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine needs to be stored at -70C.
Some of the first Australians to receive the vaccine will be border workers, health workers involved in the fight against COVID-19, and people who are involved in aged care settings.
What is CSL’s involvement in the COVID-19 vaccine?
In regards to the COVID-19 vaccine, CSL announced back in September 2020 that it had signed an agreement with the Australian federal government.
CSL will manufacture the COVID-19 vaccine from its Australian facilities, as well as manufacturing the company’s vital core therapies.
The Australian government has provided funding to support CSL’s readiness to manufacture the Oxford University – AstraZeneca vaccine, which has expanded Australia’s on-shore vaccine manufacturing capabilities.
The funding is being used to establish at-risk components required to produce the commercial manufacture of the recombinant vector-based COVID-19 vaccine, including funding for specialised equipment, recruitment training and redeployment of personnel and retooling and reconfiguration of existing manufacturing facilities to ‘good manufacturing practice’ standards.
At the time of the announcement of the deal with the federal government, CSL CEO and managing director Paul Perreault said:
“Acknowledging that CSL is the only company in Australia with manufacturing facilities capable of producing this vaccine, we thank the Australian government for their support, ensuring Australia has access to onshore COVID-19 vaccine production and supply. Our facilities will require modifications in order to fulfil the compliance requirements for working with vector-based vaccines, as well as the addition of skilled personnel and further capital investment.”
Mr Perreault also spoke of the company’s prior involvement in manufacturing vaccines: “CSL’s history is linked with a commitment to Australia’s public health needs. In 1918 we produced a vaccine for the Spanish influenza pandemic, in 2009 we developed a vaccine for the swine flu pandemic, and now we are incredibly proud to use our skills, technology and facilities to help ensure Australia – and the world – can access a COVID-19 vaccine.”