07:21 GMT05 August 2021
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    MOSCOW (Sputnik) - A coronavirus vaccine will likely become available to people in Australia as early as at the start of next year, Prime Minister Scott Morrison has announced.

    "Australians will gain free access to a COVID-19 vaccine in 2021 if trials prove successful", Morrison said in a Monday statement.

    According to the release from the prime minister’s office, the Australian government has reached a $1.7 billion supply and production agreement with pharmaceutical companies, which will ensure that a free COVID-19 vaccine will be available progressively throughout 2021 in Australia.

    "Under the agreement, the University of Oxford/AstraZeneca and the University of Queensland/CSL will provide more than 84.8 million vaccine doses for the Australian population, almost entirely manufactured in Melbourne, with early access to 3.8 million doses of the University of Oxford vaccine in January and February 2021", the Monday statement from the prime minister’s office says.

    Morrison stressed that there are no guarantees that the vaccines will prove successful.

    Australia has over 26,200 confirmed coronavirus cases and more than 750 confirmed deaths from COVID-19. More than 22,400 people have recovered. The Victoria state, which has over 19,500 confirmed cases, is the most affected.

    On Monday, Victoria reported only 41 new cases, the lowest single-day increase registered in the state since June.

    Victoria Premier Dan Andrews said on Sunday that coronavirus restrictions were going to be eased in the state starting from 13 September.

    Australia, Scott Morrison, vaccine, COVID-19
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