Big boost to Aussie vaccine rollout

Fifty million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine will be manufactured in Melbourne following approval by the Therapeutic Goods Administration.

The TGA approved the manufacture of the vaccine in Australia on Sunday in a "critical and very exciting milestone in Australia's response to the COVID-19 pandemic".

The vaccine is being manufactured at two sites in suburban Melbourne; CSL-Behring Australia in Broadmeadows is making the active raw vaccine material, while the final doses are being manufactured and vials filled and packaged at CSL company Seqirus in Parkville.

Quality control testing of the raw material and product is also being carried out in these facilities.

The Australian government has purchased 50 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine, to be manufactured on its behalf by CSL.

Each batch of vaccine supplied will undergo a TGA batch release, which involves a review of documents describing how it was made, tested, shipped and stored as well as testing by the TGA's in-house lab, to ensure it's been made according to required standards.

The TGA is expected to receive the final batch release documentation from AstraZeneca immediately, with the first batches released in the next few days.

If the individual batches meet TGA's batch release requirements, the vaccines will form the mainstay of Australia's COVID-19 vaccination program over the coming months, complementing the supply of the imported vaccines.

The news comes as more than 1000 general practices join the COVID-19 vaccination program on Monday as part of the phase 1b rollout of the vaccination program.

These clinics have initially been supplied with imported AstraZeneca vaccine.

By the end of April, clinics will increase in number to more than 4000, along with over 100 Aboriginal Health Services and 130 Commonwealth operated GP-led respiratory clinics, with the scale-up coinciding with the supply of the locally-produced AstraZeneca vaccine.

The phase 1b rollout includes elderly adults aged 70 and over, health care workers, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander adults over 55 and adults with a specified medical condition. It also includes critical and high risk workers including defence, police, fire, emergency services and meat processing.

Originally published as Big boost to Aussie vaccine rollout

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