The Greens say that the Government must continue to expand and diversify Australia’s vaccine portfolio immediately in light of the varying rates of effectiveness of vaccines against new strains.
“We cannot rely on AstraZeneca as our only contingency plan - we need to have a diverse portfolio to rapidly pivot to deal with new strains, including securing deals with Moderna and more Pfizer doses", Greens spokesperson on Health Senator Rachel Siewert said.
“We need to ramp up CSL’s capacity to start locally producing Novavax at the same time as AstraZeneca given the promising Phase 3 Trial data.
“The Government should immediately invest in developing Australia’s capacity to locally manufacture vaccines and medicines that use mRNA technology. We need a publicly owned manufacturing capacity, mRNA technology is likely to revolutionise vaccine and drug development and Australia could be at the forefront of this.
“This should be started immediately as it will take some time to establish local manufacturing. Our local manufacturer CSL is not currently equipped to produce vaccines that use mRNA technology.
“A successful vaccine rollout will rely on strong leadership from the Federal Government and good faith and cooperation between the States and Territories.
“I am very concerned that if the bickering which is occurring between the State and Feds on quarantine arrangements continues to happen when the vaccine rollout commences Australians will not be served well.
“We need a public health response, not point scoring. No one wants to see the Prime Minister and Premiers bickering.
“Quarantine is a Federal responsibility, as is the vaccine rollout.
“Far too much of the official expert advice and consideration has been enveloped in secrecy, not least of which have been the decisions around vaccines.
“There needs to be more transparency about how decisions on masks, quarantine and vaccines are being made.
“It is essential that Australia continue to support COVAX and our neighbours in the pacific region must have timely and adequate access to Covid-19 vaccines.
"Australia should commit to increasing its funding to the COVAX AMC to at least the level of Canada (an additional $135.2m USD). This could also include calling on big pharma to temporarily waive intellectual property rights on Covid-19 vaccines to facilitate universal access.”
Lucy Cowcher-Guthrie: 0418 401 180