Australia races back into global vaccine lead (or not)

Is the press joking or what? The AFR:

  • Australia has “snapped up” 25m doses of Moderna vaccine.
  • 10m this year on no disclosed date and 15m boosters next year.
  • We are in discussions to manufacture locally.

The phrase “snapped up” in the Merrium-Webster dictionary is defined as “to buy or take (something or someone) quickly or eagerly”.

Is that what is going on here? Or, should this rather be reported as the Morrison Government being so slow and inept in its procurement policy that we have now bought the dregs of Moderna’s out-of-date first-generation vaccine.

At least we will get some of the new, though when that arrives is anybody’s guess. Probably in Deccember 2022 when the third generation version is in the offing.

Meanwhile, Morrison’s rollout is still trailing Borat’s:

The only thing that Morrison Government has “snapped up” is the worst case outcome for a once per century immunisation program..

David Llewellyn-Smith
Latest posts by David Llewellyn-Smith (see all)


  1. Ronin8317MEMBER

    ScoMo from marketing knows that people only remembers the headline, not the failure to deliver.

    • happy valleyMEMBER

      But the only job that ScoMo would swear on a stack of bibles, while simultaneously doing some laying of hands, is his is: marketing?

      It’s other people’s jobs to do everything else?

  2. DrBob127MEMBER

    “At least we will get some of the new, though went that arrives”

    ” still trialing Borat’s:”

  3. Frank DrebinMEMBER

    Thank Christ we are still ahead of our traditional rival Nepal though !!!.

    In your face Nepal.

  4. kierans777MEMBER

    Watching #shadysukkar on ABC breakfast get upset at the accurate adjective of “inept” regarding the vaccine rollout was funny. There’s going to be an election in 6 months as #shadysukkar is a good bellweather. He gets out and about when he’s got to save his job.

  5. Ritualised FormsMEMBER

    I find reading AFR articles helps if you mentally transliterate them all into sports journalese……….

    Australia cements Covid medal placing with Moderna domination in the back straight

    Hands High
    May 13, 2021 – 2.37am

    London | The Morrison government has surged into global Covid medal contention with a withering back straight run powered by a dominant midfield performance by PM Scott Morrison. 

    The pre-race bookies favourite raised the spinnaker to capitalise on the strengthening breeze after Tuesday’s budget with Captain, PM Scott Morrison, pulling off two absolute blinders to snare 10 million doses of Moderna’s standard vaccine this year and 15 million of its booster vaccine candidate next year.

    In an interview after the day’s play the US-based pharmaceutical giant said the Australian PM was an ‘absolute legend’ of the game.

    “People talk about the big game performers and the word legend gets thrown about a lot, but not many nations could have pulled out what Australia did today.  10 million doses this year and 15 million next will ensure Australia is very difficult to beat and is right in medal contention coming home on a wet sail. The announcement coming out straight after a feel good budget is the work of a master.  An absolute legend, and a standout in a pretty competitive field’

    The news came after the government splashed the cash in the high rollers room of the budget, with big hits to gain possession of manufacturing capacity, and a superb kick to touch for mRNA drugs in Australia.

    Moderna CEO Stephane Bancel said his company anticipated “continuing discussions with Australia about establishing a ‘double or nothing’ or even a ’winner takes all’ high stakes competition modelled on the governments approach to submarine acquisition”.

    Australia had been under pressure following an uncharacteristically slow-starting vaccination program, and some unforced errors in quarantine with commentators calling saying the medal hope would need to up the pace fourfold to be within striking distance by Christmas.

    Australia’s first inning rollout was hampered by a damp pitch which saw a scratchy performance by AstraZeneca, fresh from a series of Group One meetings in the European Union. Then, once domestic manufacture had started, the second days play was delayed by a pitch invasion of over 50s, seeking to wager on the risk of blood clots as a side-effect.

    Mass vaccination centres are now opening to distribute jabs, particularly Pfizer’s, at greater pace and scale, getting some movement off the pitch with the Fremantle Doctor picking up, and the AstraZeneca toiling into the wind on a steady line and length. Australia’s rollout speed is roughly on a par with Europe’s, with front-runners such as the US, Britain and Israel still well out in front.  But pundits see Australia’s game in hand plus some big name returns from injury and a favourable fixture as leaving it just off the back the leading peleton rounding the bend into the home straight.  On the week’s news Australia shortened from 11-1 into 5-2 for a place, and now looks well worth an outlay at 6 for the win.    

    Moderna’s vaccine is being used in extensively in the US, Britain and Europe. It is made in Europe and the US by Swiss company Lonza. Lonza uses lipids from Germany to make the vaccine, which is then filled and finished in Spain and France. Lonza’s US output has an entirely American supply chain. Its combined trans-Atlantic capacity is at least 700 million doses this year and 1.4 billion next year.  But Australia’s nabbing of 25 million doses belied the home ground knowledge and has positioned the nation for title honours.

    Moderna’s statement did not say whether the doses would be shipped from Europe or the US, but noted that Moderna hoped to “open a commercial subsidiary in Australia in 2021”.

    “Australia can play from both sides of the box in a run with role, while still getting a lot of influential possessions.  Once the midfield is sorted that positions the big forwards to make hay while the sun shines.  Australia is all about shining, and we are all about making hay.”

    The Moderna jab’s efficacy at preventing COVID-19 has been rated at 94 per cent, slightly lower in over-65s. Even a single dose is 80 per cent effective, according to US Centre for Disease Control and Prevention.  Slow motion footage suggested that some arm straightening did occur but the touch judges kept the flag down.

    It is said to be close to 100 per cent effective against hospitalisation and death, and early research suggests it can protect against the British, South African and Brazilian variants, with old timers describing Australia’s performance as a hallowed reminder of the glory days of its fight to prevent Foot and Mouth disease gaining a foothold.

    The two doses are taken 28 days apart, with the legs facing due east and due west, in a crouching position and the arms akimbo. The mRNA vaccines use a newly developed technology that sends instructions to cells for making a spike protein that trains the immune system to recognise the COVID-19 spike protein, and receives instructions from the dressing room or via the runner.

    Besides Moderna, the ebullient Australia has current contracts for almost 170 million vaccine doses: 40 million from Pfizer, 53.8 million from AstraZeneca (of which 50 million are being made locally), 51 million from Novavax and 25 million from the Covax facility, a global initiative aimed at equitable access to vaccines.  Australian Captain, and man of the Match Morrison said everything was coming together at the right time for the side to go a long way into September.

    Novavax’s CEO Stanley Erck this week said raw materials shortages had forced it to delay the process of getting its vaccine out into the market, and seeing punters get off the wagon sending it from 7-2 to 18-1 on the tote.

    The company will no longer seek regulatory approval in the US and Britain by the end of June as previously expected, and is instead targeting the third quarter and an adjudication from the Match review committee instead.

    Meanwhile, Australia is developing its own second-wave vaccine at the University of Queensland. The UQ vaccine, which was Australia’s leading candidate before unexpectedly coming unstuck in December, is undergoing re-engineering, and is promising to be ‘back bigger and better than before, after doing a big pre-season’.

    • Lord DudleyMEMBER

      Heh. You should write sports-ball for a living!

      I’ve had both doses of Moderna… the side effects are really interesting. Like nothing I’ve experienced from other vaccines. Aside from localised aching at the injection site, I’ve never had any reaction whatsoever to any other vaccine.

      First dose, had a shot at around 8:30 AM on a Saturday. Had an active day doing touristy stuff (I drove 2 hours to get the first shot because they had availability there, but not where I live). No side effects at all during the day. Woke up at about 7AM the next morning feeling like crap… super exhausted, heavy limbs, and body aches all over… yuck! Went back to sleep for an hour. Woke up feeling somewhat better, so I decided to force myself to get up. Within an hour, all symptoms were gone and I felt completely normal. No symptoms returned. I’ve never gone from feeling like I have a weak flu to feeling completely normal within an hour. Weird.

      Second shot (about 30 days later), had the shot at about 8:30 AM. Did touristy stuff. At 4PM was feeling completely fine. At 6 PM started to feel tired. By 7PM, was completely exhausted, with all-over body aches appearing, and reduced to laying in bed groaning. Slept for 13 hours. Woke up the next morning, and felt a bit flat during the day, but not too bad. Some minor body aches, but nothing I couldn’t just ignore. After that, no symptoms at all.

      The speed and surprising severity (not that it’s worrying, but you sure know it’s hitting you) of the side effects is interesting, and also very common. Out of my co-workers, they’ve all had similar reactions. So the stuff is certainly doing something! And I’m not going to argue with 94% effectiveness… an unheard of efficacy.

  6. WHO on Moderna:
    “We do not know whether the vaccine will prevent infection and protect against onward transmission.”

    • Lord DudleyMEMBER

      This is true for all the COVID vaccines. Transmission studies are much harder and take substantial time.

  7. I know there is widespread resentment in the just over 50s on having no choice but the Astra Zeneca. Now it seems that Moderna is also not for the over 50s so even more resentment! Given this, the vaccine rollout is not going to accelerate in the 50-55 age group…