Australia’s COVID-19 Vaccine and Treatment Strategy supports early access to, and delivery of, safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines and treatments, as soon as they become available.
The Australian Government is pursuing a diversified COVID-19 vaccine strategy, ensuring that Australia is well placed to access a successful vaccine.
To date our Government has announced advance purchasing agreements for the University of Queensland and University of Oxford vaccines, and that Australia will participate in the international COVAX facility.
The Australian Government is in discussions with a number of other promising vaccines and will consider further investments in line with Australia’s COVID-19 Vaccine and Treatment Strategy.
A COVID-19 vaccine will not be made available to Australians until it passes the strict safety and efficacious regulatory assessments by the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA).
Phase III clinical trials in large groups of people are currently being undertaken around the world to study the safety and efficacy of COVID-19 vaccines. This includes monitoring of side effects.
TGA and the Department of Health are working closely with vaccine developers to monitor the progress of the Phase 3 clinical trials.
Today, AstraZeneca have temporarily put on hold the Phase III study of the University of Oxford COVID-19 vaccine following an unexplained illness in one trial participant in the United Kingdom.
This is a voluntary and routine action that demonstrates the rigour and high standards of the clinical trial process and that safety is the primary focus of the clinical trials being undertaken.
AstraZeneca are working to expedite the review of the single event to minimise any potential impact on the trial timeline.
Phase III clinical trials of the University of Oxford COVID-19 vaccine are currently underway in the United Kingdom, United States, Brazil and South Africa with up to 50,000 people participating globally.
The TGA rigorously assesses vaccines for safety, quality and effectiveness, before they can be legally supplied in Australia.
The TGA is actively monitoring COVID-19 vaccine development, including safety information, both in Australia and around the world.
AstraZeneca statement 9 September, 2020
A spokesperson for AstraZeneca advised “As part of the ongoing randomised, controlled global trials of the Oxford coronavirus vaccine, our standard review process was triggered and we voluntarily paused vaccination to allow review of safety data by an independent committee.
This is a routine action which has to happen whenever there is a potentially unexplained illness in one of the trials, while it is investigated, ensuring we maintain the integrity of the trials. In large trials illnesses will happen by chance but must be independently reviewed to check this carefully.
We are working to expedite the review of the single event to minimise any potential impact on the trial timeline. We are committed to the safety of our participants and the highest standards of conduct in our trials”.