State to solve major vaccine problem

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian has made a major announcement about the coronavirus vaccine that would solve a big problem.

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian has asked medical experts to begin the process towards being able to make COVID-19 vaccine doses in the state.

The plan is to have local manufacturers make mRNA vaccines, the same method that the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines use to protect against COVID-19.

Those kinds of vaccines teach cells how to make a protein that triggers an immune response, which helps fortify the body against the disease.

Ms Berejiklian said the technology to make the jabs already existed in the state, and that a factory that made mRNA coronavirus vaccines also would be able to make inoculations against other diseases in the future.

She said the government had recently boosted those technological capabilities with a $25 million investment.

“This is a strategy that the NSW government strongly supports, because not only do we want to guarantee a supply here in NSW, but also develop the industry,” Ms Berejiklian told reporters.

She said she had been advised it would take between one and two years two get a pilot up and running, but that she expected to receive an updated timeline within a few weeks.

“You’re starting a new industry … You need to give yourself the right amount of time. I’m being realistic,” Ms Berejiklian said of the timeline.

The only factory that’s currently producing coronavirus vaccines, CSL in Victoria, is making the AstraZeneca version of the drug, rather than the Pfizer version.

But the Victorian government has said it also has the intention of making mRNA doses locally, injecting $50 million last month into a pilot project that they hoped would begin making jabs within 12 months.

The federal government has advised that those under 50 should get Pfizer vaccines instead of AstraZeneca jabs, because the latter carries a small risk of giving the recipient dangerous blood clots.

NSW temporarily suspended its AstraZeneca rollout last month following the commonwealth advice, but later resumed allowing medics to give out the jabs.

A total of 677,262 COVID-19 jabs had been administered in the states as of 8pm Monday.

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