A new high-tech vaccine manufacturing facility will be developed in Melbourne to secure Australia’s long-term supply of critical health products, including pandemic influenza vaccines and life-saving anti-venoms.
The $1-billion agreement between the Federal government and Seqirus also provides the ability to rapidly manufacture vaccines when responding to health pandemics in the future.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison said the new complex would be the largest influenza vaccine manufacturing facility in the Southern Hemisphere.
Must guard against future health threats
“Keeping Australians safe is my number one priority and while we are rightly focused on both the health and economic challenges of COVID-19, we must also guard against future threats,” the Prime Minister said.
“This agreement cements Australia’s long-term sovereign medical capabilities, giving us the ability to develop vaccines when we need them.
“Just as major defence equipment must be ordered well in advance, this is an investment in our national health security against future pandemics.”
Project will commence in the new year
According to Health Minister Greg Hunt, under the agreement Seqirus will invest $800-million in the development of the facility project, creating 520 construction jobs, commencing in 2021.
“This new facility will guarantee Australian health security against pandemic influenza for the next two decades,” Hunt said.
“Our government’s strategy is to protect the health and wellbeing of Australians and the Australian economy, as well as having access to a world-class health system.”
Facility will mass produce local vaccines
He added: “This is a major milestone, ensuring that Australia can mass-produce vaccines against future flu pandemics, as well as continuing onshore production of seasonal flu vaccines, Q fever vaccines and anti-venoms.”
A statement released by the government said that, without this agreement, the nation would need to source critical medical products from overseas.
Seqirus is currently the only company making influenza and Q fever vaccine in Australia, and the only company in the world making life-saving anti-venom products against 11 poisonous Australian creatures (snakes, marine creatures and spiders).