The CSL Limited (ASX: CSL) share price is up by 2.73% today. The positive price movement comes on the heels of news the Australian government has approved use of its COVID-19 vaccine within the country.
At the time of writing, shares in the pharmaceutical giant are trading for $260.87 – up 2.44%. By comparison the S&P/ASX 200 Index (ASX: XJO) is up 0.66%.
Let’s take a closer at the government’s announcement.
CSL-made AstraZeneca vaccine will be used in Australia
The CSL share price is responding well to today’s news. The Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) announced late on Sunday it had approved use of the CSL-manufactured AstraZeneca (LSE: AZN) COVID-19 vaccine in Australia. On 16 February, the TGA approved the use of the overseas-manufactured AstraZeneca vaccine.
The approval process has been at least 6 months in the making, according to the administrator. CSL announced a deal with the government back in September 2020 to manufacture the vaccine locally. The government has bought a total of 50 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine.
The vaccine will be produced at 2 factories in Melbourne. CSL-Behring Australia, in Broadmeadows, is manufacturing the active raw vaccine material. Vial filling and packaging is being completed at the Sequris (a CSL subsidiary) centre in Parkville.
The first batches of the vaccine are expected to be out in the community within days. The TGA will need to approve every batch before it can be injected into the populace, however.
Australia is currently in the 1b phase of its vaccine rollout. On top of frontline workers and residential aged-care facility residents, anyone over the age of 70, Indigenous Australians over 55, or any adult with an underlying medical condition are eligible for the vaccine. The federal government is administrating the rollout. Vaccine supplies are being provided to registered GPs, pharmacies, and medical centres for mass inoculation.
The approval comes at a critical time for the country. European Union countries have been blocking shipment of AstraZeneca vaccines made in its nations to Australia, with the continental government body citing rising COVID cases and lack of vaccine supply for its citizens.
CSL share price snapshot
Despite today’s announcement, and its government tender, the CSL share price is down more than 3% on this time last year. In fact, the share price hit a 52-week low at the beginning of this month. The strong Aussie dollar hampered interim dividend payments to investors for the FY21 half-year.
CSL has a current market capitalisation of $118.4 billion.