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Jubilation over the imminent arrival of COVID-19 vaccines is justified, but must be tempered by the reality that a fast, safe, efficient rollout across a continent like Australia will be highly complex.

This makes last week’s release of a national COVID-19 vaccination policy an important development in how we will contain SARS-COV-2 in the future. Arrangements have been made with the developers of four promising candidates that, if successful, will begin arriving in 2021:

  • Oxford/Astra Zeneca: doses to immunise 1.9 million people delivered, plus doses for 15 million immunisations manufactured in Australia
  • University of Queensland/CSL: doses for 25.5 million immunisations manufactured here
  • Novavax: doses for 20 million immunisations delivered
  • Pfizer/BioNTech: doses for 5 million immunisations delivered.

The federal government has also signed a deal with COVAX, the global COVID-19 vaccine platform co-ordinated by the World Health Organization. The agreement secures enough doses of a successful vaccine to immunise half of the Australian population.