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People's Daily Online

Australia facing coronavirus vaccine supply issues: scientists

People's Daily Online

(Xinhua) 10:28, February 25, 2021

CANBERRA, Feb. 25 (Xinhua) -- Australia's leading scientists have warned that the country is at-risk of coronavirus vaccine shortages.

In a recent submission to the federal government, the Australian Academy of Science (AAS) warned that Australia and the surrounding region would remain vulnerable to supply limitations unless onshore vaccine manufacturing capabilities were improved.

It called for additional funding to produce more mRNA vaccines as Australia's vaccine rollout continues.

"There are developing gaps in our ability to produce vaccines onshore," the submission said.

"Without the ability to produce new vaccines onshore, Australia and the region remain vulnerable to supply shocks."

Australia began administering coronavirus vaccines on Sunday, with frontline workers and the elderly given priority access to doses.

Under the rollout plan, Pfizer's mRNA vaccine will be imported and administered first in Australia, followed by AstraZeneca's vaccine based on a different technology, 50 million doses of which will be manufactured domestically by biotechnology company CSL.

"Investing in nucleic acid-based technology platforms offers a way to mitigate this risk," the AAS said.

"Australia needs a strategy for developing additional manufacturing platforms for the years ahead."

As of Wednesday afternoon, there had been 28,939 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Australia, and the numbers of locally and overseas acquired cases in the last 24 hours were zero and one respectively, according to the latest figures updated on Wednesday evening from the Department of Health.

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