Australia in talks to produce Moderna shots onshore

Australia is in talkswith Moderna to make its COVID-19 vaccines domestically, officials said Thursday, amid a slow vaccination rollout.

The news comes just a day after Moderna said it would supply Australia with 10 million doses this year, and 15 million booster shots next year offering protection against COVID-19 variants.

Health Minister Greg Hunt said Thursday Australia is discussing the establishment of a domestic production facility for vaccines using mRNA technology, like Moderna's, and its rival Pfizer.

In a statement, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said that "onshore manufacturing would ensure a secure, long-term supply of Moderna's mRNA-based vaccines."

Australia's vaccination rollout has been a slow one, missing its initial targets due to supply-chain issues and concerns over side effects.

The country is currently using Pfizer and AstraZeneca's vaccines in its rollout.

Authoritiesrestricted use of AstraZeneca, which is locally produced, in people under 50 due to rare cases of blood-clotting.

Australia has administered just under 3 million shots as of Tuesday, far short of the 4 million originally pledged by the end of March.

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