Australia expects first batch of vaccine in January

FILE PHOTO: A laboratory technician is seen at the Inselspital Universitaetsspital Bern university hospital during researches for a vaccine against the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Bern, Switzerland April 22, 2020. Picture taken April 22, 2020. REUTERS/Arnd Wiegmann/File Photo

Australia expects to receive its first batches of a potential COVID-19 vaccine in January, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said on Monday, as the number of new daily infections in the country’s virus hotspot fell to a 10-week low.

Morrison said his government has struck a deal with CSL Ltd to manufacture two vaccines – one developed by rival AstraZeneca and Oxford University, and another developed in CSL’s own labs with the University of Queensland.

“Australia needs some hope,” Morrison told reporters in Canberra. “Today, we take another significant step to protect the health of Australians against the coronavirus pandemic.”

The Prime Minister added that the country will secure almost 85 million doses of a coronavirus vaccine if two promising trials prove successful.

Australia has recorded more than 26,000 coronavirus cases and 769 deaths, most in the past two months after an outbreak in Victoria.