• Staff Writers

Victoria wants to be first Pfizer-style vaccine producer in southern hemisphere

The Victorian Government announced on Wednesday it wants to become a regional leader in producing vaccines like the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine, as Australia wrestles concerns over AstraZeneca style vaccines.

Victoria will invest $50 million in new critical manufacturing technology and research to provide certainty of supply of new vaccines and lifesaving treatments in Australia.

Following the Commonwealth identifying onshore production of messenger ribonucleic acid (mRNA) vaccines as a national priority, Victoria will seek to establish mRNA vaccine and therapeutic manufacturing in Melbourne.

The Pfizer vaccine is an mRNA-style vaccine, whereas the AstraZeneca vaccine uses a viral vector approach.

The Victorian Government will work closely with the Commonwealth and world-leading experts from Monash University, the University of Melbourne, The Doherty Institute and other leading research institutes.

Acting Premier James Merlino told reporters on Wednesday:

“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.”

The Victorian government’s decision aims to provide vaccine security, ensuring manufacturing can be contracted locally to avoid global supply chain issues.

The government stated it is looking forward to working with the Commonwealth to secure mRNA manufacturing capability for the benefit of all Australians, with health minister Martin Foley saying in a statement:

"There are major advantages to this technology including high efficacy, rapid speed in development, and flexible manufacturing processes. Victoria is well positioned to be at the forefront of this effort.”

Australia currently produces the AstraZeneca vaccine but has restricted its use to over 50, due to blood clotting risks.