Coronavirus vaccines like Pfizer and Moderna could be produced in Australia for the first time as the Victorian Government invests $50 million into the domestic manufacturing of mRNA vaccine technology.

The state government will work closely with the Commonwealth and world-leading experts to develop the first mRNA manufacturing facility in the Southern Hemisphere, which would be based in Melbourne.

In a statement, the government said mRNA vaccines, such as Pfizer and Moderna, were a “promising alternative” to traditional vaccines because of their high efficacy, capacity for rapid development, low-cost manufacture and safe administration.
Coronavirus vaccines like Pfizer and Moderna could be produced in Australia for the first time. (AP)
Growing evidence also suggests Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, which are manufactured in Europe and the United States, will be easier to re-engineer to cover new viral variants than conventional inoculations such as AstraZeneca.

Australia is currently only capable of manufacturing AstraZeneca, with the country’s CSL facility set to make more than 50 million doses.

“This is a very significant announcement, not just for Victoria but for Australia,” Acting Victoria Premier James Merlino said.

The development of the mRNA manufacturing capability would provide vaccine security, ensuring vials can be made locally to avoid global supply chain issues.

Other forms of RNA nanomedicines and mRNA can also be used in the treatment of cancer, rare diseases, cellular engineering and protein-replacement therapy.

Mr Merlino said it would take at least 12 months for any of the vaccines to be manufactured.

“It’s vital that we can develop and manufacture mRNA vaccines and treatments locally to ensure we have vaccine security here in Australia and across our region,” he said.

Monash University researcher Professor Colin Pouton said mRNA vaccination was the best way to quickly respond to emerging viruses.

“We are very keen to push ahead with the second generation COVID-19 vaccine we are working on, and looking to the future, we’re collaborating with a number of researchers who are interested in how the mRNA platform could be used for other medical applications,” Professor Pouton said.

It comes as Victoria’s mass vaccination sites opened their doors today to make COVID-19 jabs more accessible.

Eligible Victorians under phase 1a and 1b of the rollout can visit one of the four vaccination hubs at the Royal Exhibition Building, Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre and the old Ford Factory in Geelong.

People aged over 70, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders over 55 and adults with underlying medical conditions are eligible to get the AstraZeneca jab.

Adults aged under 50 who are eligible will also be given the option of receiving AstraZeneca after the two-week pause due to blood clot concerns lifted today.

Victoria’s Chief Health Officer Professor Brett Sutton said he was “delighted” to get the AstraZeneca vaccine today and “couldn’t be happier”.

“Caring, professional and efficient approach of everyone at the Royal Exhibition Buildings, especially the ⁦St Vincent’s staff,” he wrote on Twitter.

COVID-10 vaccinations will still be offered at GP clinics.

People who want to get their vaccine at one of the mass sites can make an appointment over the phone or walk-in if they are willing to wait.

This content first appear on 9news

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