Publicly-owned COVID19 vaccine manufacturer may be only way to save lives: Greens

The Australian Greens have called on the government to establish publicly funded vaccine manufacturing capacity in Australia to ensure any COVID19 vaccine is available to all Australians.

A recent Defence science technology report outlined in today’s media has warned of a shortage in vaccines in Australia during a pandemic because of the lack of production capacity in Australia.

Speaking in Melbourne Greens Leader Adam Bandt MP and Greens Health spokesperson Dr Richard Di Natale called on the Morrison government to immediately invest $70 million in expanding the CSIRO’s vaccine manufacturing facilities and to develop a plan to stand up a publicly funded manufacturing capacity by working with the Australian medical industry.

The Greens also want the Australian government to ensure the vaccine is available free of charge and have repeated their call for the flu vaccine to be fully available and free.

Adam Bandt said:

“We need a publicly backed vaccine manufacturer.”

“Currently most vaccine manufacturing happens in the United States, China and Germany. Australia risks being at the back of the queue.”
“Australians shouldn’t have to rely on Donald Trump putting us ahead of his reelection chances and expect that vaccines made in the United States will come here quickly.”

“We have wonderful medical scientists who are already working on vaccine candidates and some manufacturing capacity at the CSIRO and elsewhere that could be scaled up with the right investment from the Commonwealth.”

“If we can’t get the vaccine through other means, a publicly-owned COVID vaccine manufacturer may be the only way to save lives.”

Dr Richard Di Natale said:

“The government has a responsibility to ensure that Australians have timely, secure and free access to any COVID-19 vaccine when it becomes available. We know that the pandemic will likely disrupt existing supply chains for vaccines at a time when unprecedented supply will be required.”

“In past pandemics we have seen uneven and unfair distribution of vaccines in which wealthy nations have placed huge early orders and squeezed out smaller nations. By producing the vaccine locally Australia can secure domestic access for vulnerable Australians and also assist in ensuring access in our region.”

“The government also needs to ensure any COVID19 vaccine is free and widely available.”

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