Clearly, they’re planning for yearly COVID boosters.
Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine could be manufactured in Australia by the middle of the decade, with plans being put together for a new plant in Victoria capable of producing up to 100 million shots a year.
An in-principle agreement has been struck between Moderna, the federal government and the Victorian government, with them hoping to have the facility running by 2024.
The federal government is putting funding into the project, but the details of the agreement are commercial in confidence.
It includes priority access to any vaccines made in Australia, to ensure the country is not competing with others abroad in future pandemics or serious outbreaks.
Moderna produces one of three COVID-19 vaccines currently being rolled out in Australia, along with Pfizer and AstraZeneca, and has joined the booster rollout too.
But mRNA vaccines are not currently being manufactured in Australia, meaning every single Pfizer and Moderna shot being administered locally has been flown in from overseas.
The new plant will manufacture Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine and shots tailored for other illnesses like the seasonal flu.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison said mRNA technology was likely to play an increasingly important role in Australian healthcare.
“This investment will continue to secure Australia’s future economic prosperity while protecting lives by providing access to world-leading mRNA vaccines made on Australian soil,” he said.
“The new mRNA manufacturing facility in Victoria will produce respiratory vaccines for potential future pandemics and seasonal health issues such as the common flu, protecting lives and livelihoods.”