General COVID-19 Vaccine Discussion

Seat0B

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So, about that Chinese vaccine 🤔

Which leads back to the question about whether countries like Australia will accept any vaccine or only particular ones, for quarantine free travel, if the borders ever open up again. And why I am also pleased that my son (aged 30) withstood pressure to get the Sinovac and held out for AstraZeneca in the UAE at the beginning of this year.
 

tgh

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One left field concept is that the feds already know that the current crop of vaccines are all but redundant.
Telling us all would probably do more harm than good, we are probably better off not knowing….
 
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OZDUCK

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One left field concept is that the feds already know that the current crop of vaccines are all but redundant.
Telling us all would probably do more harm than good, we are probably better off not knowing….
Do you really believe that our Federal leaders are capable of keeping any secret for more than one day before they would 'leak' it for some political purpose? There are numerous scientific and medical bodies that would be shouting about this from the rooftop if it was true. You can see from the post above yours that problems are being conveyed as soon as they are a confirmed with scientific research.

I certainly am firmly of the view that incompetence rather than Machiavellian cunning is behind most scandals.
 

mviy

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Hopefully more data will start emerging but not ideal

Whilst not ideal, so long as they don't need hospitalisation or die it's acceptable. As soon as there's a strain that leads to hospitalisation in large numbers or even death in the vaccinated population that's a much bigger problem.
 

Lynda2475

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There is an article on ABC today with much support for having a mRNA vaccine production facility onshore, not only to ensure better supply of either Moderna or Pfizer but because the timeframe to tweak/modify mRNA types for variants is faster than older style AZ or J&J. I just hope someone is listening, mRNA vaccines are the future for Covid and whatever the next pandemic is.
 

mviy

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There is an article on ABC today with much support for having a mRNA vaccine production facility onshore, not only to ensure better supply of either Moderna or Pfizer but because the timeframe to tweak/modify mRNA types for variants is faster than older style AZ or J&J. I just hope someone is listening, mRNA vaccines are the future for Covid and whatever the next pandemic is.
Link?

There is already a capable facility planned for 2026. These facilities don’t grow on trees. Even if suitable existing buildings could be found and money was no object you’d still be looking at at least sometime in 2022 and quite probably later, and by then vaccine supply issues would most likely be resolved anyway.

It took CSL several months to get to the point of producing AZ and a new extremely different kind of vaccine would be expected to take much longer to prepare for when we don’t currently have facilities suitably equipped to produce it.
 

tgh

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Do you really believe that

I believe none of what I hear/read and only half what I see…. belief is really an overrated emotion….
It was just speculative musing.. no more and no less
 

RAM

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Do you really believe that our Federal leaders are capable of keeping any secret for more than one day before they would 'leak' it for some political purpose? There are numerous scientific and medical bodies that would be shouting about this from the rooftop if it was true. You can see from the post above yours that problems are being conveyed as soon as they are a confirmed with scientific research.

I certainly am firmly of the view that incompetence rather than Machiavellian cunning is behind most scandals.
Yes, incompetence in planning does seem a hallmark of many bureaucratic systems ranging from Communist countries through to Australia. Case studies of both China & Russia proliferate but ones on Western countries don't make it into the fully or semi-Govt funded courses that often.

For example the first 'dysfuntional behaviour' detailed case study at UNSW in the 1980s for Commerce was the Russian Production plans where industries were told to produce X million products. So the bright party officials quickly worked out that 1 million baby shoes used 1/4 the materials provided vs the avg men's shoe. So 1 million baby shoes were provided and the other 3/4 of materials used to produce other sizes of shoes for the black market.

Back to present day Australia...

Well, in at least the early stages there were decisions made in Australia & the US to 'deliberately play down', 'mislead' or perhaps 'lie' to the general populations.

In Australia, Scomo quickly moved to rename the process to 'National Cabinet' so that none of the documents presented nor minutes of the meetings could ever be made public. Material & suggestions 'from the scientists' were received & rejected for various reasons such as the National Stockpile being under-stocked by around 40% for a number of PPE items. Why? Spending had been cut in an attempt to achieve that much announced impending budget surplus.

So 'face masks' are of no benefit for the general community... (under-stocked massively)
No advice to wear protective glasses or shields... (under-stocked massively)

In the US Dr Faucci was taped boasting about how he'd gotten away with lying about this - this led to an agreed interview where he received & edited all the questions in advance in exchange for providing the exclusive in exchange for the recording never being aired.

Yes these secrets were successfully withheld however in the US the scientific community partially rebelled and several dozen major institutions immediately put up instructions on how to make your own out of common items found in the home. That didn't happen in Australia until months later.

Before 'conspiracy theories' starts being bandied around, & things like that don't happen in Autsralia - try doing a search on 'Bernard Collaery... After all what's wrong with using Australian intelligence services to bug the East Timorese Offices to help a private sector company make billions extra? Or perhaps turn a blind eye at literally the last second PRIOR to the election massacres in East Timor due to concerns over another company's application for oil & gas exploration licences from Indonesia?

Who is being helped by putting Bernard Collaery on trial ...

https://www.canberratimes.com.au › News › Latest News

25 Nov 2020 — Former ACT attorney-general Bernard Collaery. ... of the prosecution of Witness K and Bernard Collaery for revealing ASIS's crime is intended ...
 
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RAM

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Link?

There is already a capable facility planned for 2026. These facilities don’t grow on trees. Even if suitable existing buildings could be found and money was no object you’d still be looking at at least sometime in 2022 and quite probably later, and by then vaccine supply issues would most likely be resolved anyway.

It took CSL several months to get to the point of producing AZ and a new extremely different kind of vaccine would be expected to take much longer to prepare for when we don’t currently have facilities suitably equipped to produce it.
The time taken to convert an existing non-mRNA facility to mRNA seems not too lengthy. BioNTech announced a deal to take over a site at Marburg in Germany from Novartis in September with possession in December. The first step of production began less than 2 months later. As long as an existing facility has met all the normal regulatory requirements for pharmaceutical production (including such things as temperature control, humidity control, water purity/filtering etc etc) - the swapping in/out of specific equipment appears relatively time efficient.


The last three paragraphs are very worthwhile reading discussing altering the vaccine to cope with variants - "This can be done in a couple of weeks."

Testing & approval of the updated vaccine cannot be sped up though. The mRNA 'alteration time' advantage vs the 'existing/traditional' vaccine process is suggested to be between 6 & 9 months.

CSL were asked about investing in mRNA in 2019 and declined with reference to the cost & its existing healthy margins from its legacy vaccine business. Mustn't miss remuneration hurdles. More recently (post-Covid) they put a toe in the water and bought a small operation in the US.

Meanwhile in January another pharma company announced a deal to convert one of their existing facilities with production to begin within months...

One other crucial aspect though is ensuring access to the various required inputs (such as the lipids) - something that, like much else in Australia, we are close to 100% reliant on importing.

Meanwhile on the 'glass is half full' side - there is a facility in Sydney which mixes personalised chemotherapy treatments per patient however the 'ingredients'... It operates 24x7.

This was (it's not just opened) a massive advance in allowing as close as possible to the 'perfect' combination to multiple decimal places of chemo to match each patient's specific requirements. As you've probably already thought - it has to be 100.00000% cleaned between each treatment batch. Illuminating to think this 'cleaning task' is much more technologically demanding than the 'combining' task. The 'cleaning' phase taking multiples of the time of mixing.
 
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mviy

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BioNTech is a German company that would already have had some workers there familiar with the technology.

The timeframe in Australia would be expected to be longer. Perhaps quicker than I expected but I still reckon it would take at least several months for various reasons.
 

drron

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Plus CSL would have to convert its existing operations to mRNA.Now what if a serious side effect happens with the mRNA vaccine. Talk about putting all your eggs in one basket.
Plus it probably means no more flu vaccine made here. Smart move. Not.
 

Lynda2475

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Plus CSL would have to convert its existing operations to mRNA.Now what if a serious side effect happens with the mRNA vaccine. Talk about putting all your eggs in one basket.

We can approve an onshore MRNA facility with another company. It would be silly to put more eggs in the CSL basket (and havent seen anyone suggest they do), especially since they have shown no interest in moving into new technologies.

If CSL are to change to something it should probably Novovax if proven safe (which they have capability to make) as AZ is not going to recover long term. It will be used only until better and safer alternatives gain traction.

WRT mRNA lets get some healthy competition and diversify technologies with someone else. The new facility should also be built outside of Victoria to provide geographic security too i.e. if there is natural disaster in Vic affecting facility, the competitor in WA/Qld/SA/NSW/Tas/NT/ACT would be unaffected.

Moderna do not license their vaccines for others to produce, but could they be interested in setting up another production site here is Australia with some tax incentives and guaranteed orders? Pfizer do license their vaccines, so option to ask them to operate here (costs unlikely to be materially different to Europe) or license an indepnednt facility to make here.

It may not be super quick to set up a second vaccine facility but have huge benefit for Australia and the region into the future, because mRNA vaccines are the way forward not just for Covid.
 

mviy

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We can approve an onshore MRNA facility with another company. It would be silly to put more eggs in the CSL basket (and havent seen anyone suggest they do), especially since they have shown no interest in moving into new technologies.
The government has already committed to subsidising a facility for CSL due to be ready in 2026. In light of that competition any other company would want a very significant subsidy to make it worth their while setting up a competitor facility. With our small population two facilities capable of mRNA would be difficult to justify.

CSL has no reason to be an early adopter of new technologies unless they have a strong belief that it makes business sense to do so. Clearly they did not see a strong business case to be an early adopter of mRNA. Their opinion may have changed, but they have to make decisions based on the best information available to them at the time. Sometimes they get things right, sometimes they get it wrong. Their track record would indicate that they make the right calls far more often than they don't.

If CSL are to change to something it should probably Novovax if proven safe (which they have capability to make) as AZ is not going to recover long term. It will be used only until better and safer alternatives gain traction.
And this would likely be able to be up and running well before any mRNA facility or at a worst case around the same time, meaning why rush a mRNA facility when we're likely to have a viable alternative for now?

Moderna do not license their vaccines for others to produce, but could they be interested in setting up another production site here is Australia with some tax incentives and guaranteed orders?
They would probably need to have a business case to use the facility or have a buyer to sell it to later or the cost of such an agreement would be very expensive.

Pfizer do license their vaccines, so option to ask them to operate here (costs unlikely to be materially different to Europe) or license an indepnednt facility to make here.
Again this is likely to take a while to setup and by then the vaccine shortage is likely not to be the problem it is today.
It may not be super quick to set up a second vaccine facility but have huge benefit for Australia and the region into the future, because mRNA vaccines are the way forward not just for Covid.
I don't think anyone's disputing that having a facility capable of making mRNA vaccines would be a good thing, but whether we need it before 2026 is a very different question.
 

Seat0B

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I heard on ABC Radio Life Matters today that one of the reasons Moderna won't let vaccine come to Australia is that we do not have a no fault immunisation compensation scheme and they will only deal with countries that do have such a scheme. In those schemes, a person who has an advers effectt from the vaccine is able to claim compensation without having to take legal action and prove that someone, somewhere, was negligent, owed them a duty of care, that this was breached and the injury resulted. Sounds plausible to me.
 

RAM

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Plus CSL would have to convert its existing operations to mRNA.Now what if a serious side effect happens with the mRNA vaccine. Talk about putting all your eggs in one basket.
Plus it probably means no more flu vaccine made here. Smart move. Not.
Are you an advisor to the Federal Govt? You seem to have assumed CSL putting all its eggs in the one basket.

CSL's improved flu vaccine won't reach Australia until 2021

https://www.afr.com › Companies › Healthcare And Fitness

4 Dec 2018 — Australians may have to wait until 2021 for CSL's new influenza vaccine, ... be 36 per cent more effective in preventing flu than traditional egg-based vaccines ... Goods Administration for approval to use the vaccine in Australia next year. ... as well as being one of the largest producers of influenza vaccines.

Turned out to be somewhat optimistic in the timing of the changeover.


"It's the long term benefit ... we have the capacity with CSL's existing plant in Melbourne, [but] that's an egg-based facility and the world is moving to cellular facilities, so we didn't want to lose that capability.

Well, make that now 2026 at least, thanks to a $1bn 'gift?' (a $1bn purchase guarantee over 10 years regardless of what is required) from the Federal Govt towards a new facility. Nothing like having a monopoly to allow you to run the (fully depreciated?) 60 yr old Parkville plant & equipment into the ground.

"The Parkville plant was built more than 60 years ago and cannot be expanded or modified to accommodate new technologies and production requirements." aka where the flu vaccine is brewed = Parkville predominantly.

However, from the announcements made to the ASX (to date) - the 2026 plant does not appear capable of making mRNA vaccines. Wonder if there may be a change announced shortly?

Mind you the Broadmeadows plant can have equipment swapped in/out, & is where the AZ vaccine is being made under licence and appears to be using bioreactors not eggs (phew no flu vaccine implications 🤞).

Note the timing of the announcement & the timing of the Federal Govt signing the first contract with Pfizer.
_________________________________​
BioNTech has shown it is quite willing to license other pharma companies to produce their vaccine.

Just one batch (at a large scale plant) of the mRNA vaccine is sufficient to make 8 million doses and 250 million/year. There is/was nothing to stop CSL from adding a 1/10 or 1/20th scale mRNA set-up (for any successful mRNA vaccine) by only replacing a small part of their equipment at their Broadmeadows plant.

A 1/20th scale would produce approximately 240,000 doses a week. Meanwhile CSL would still have the bulk of capacity for their traditional business. BTW how much of their flu capacity has been supplanted by the AstraZeneca vaccine due to the 'bottling' under capacity?

As CSL has 'reluctantly' revealed most of the issues it is having is due to not having sufficient 'bottling' production capacity for the AZ vaccine - something that a 1st Yr production systems engineering student could have calculated in ten minutes.

After all the 'traditional' flu vaccine operation is very space intensive & was responsible for using 1/3rd of all eggs produced each year in Australia.

In contrast the mRNA process is much less space intensive (no I am not suggesting that CSL has tens of millions of hens sitting in their facility 😂).

Moderna - I suspect the 'implications' about why no contract has been entered into has little to do with the 'indemnities' which seem more 'smirk & mirrors', a bit like the claimed contract with AZ in August 2020.
 
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jjonnboy

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I heard on ABC Radio Life Matters today that one of the reasons Moderna won't let vaccine come to Australia is that we do not have a no fault immunisation compensation scheme and they will only deal with countries that do have such a scheme. In those schemes, a person who has an advers effectt from the vaccine is able to claim compensation without having to take legal action and prove that someone, somewhere, was negligent, owed them a duty of care, that this was breached and the injury resulted. Sounds plausible to me.
Interesting, as it seems like indemnity issues had been identified in the Budget 2020-21 papers;

'Advance Purchasing Agreements for COVID-19 vaccine candidates
The Australian Government has provided an indemnity to the suppliers of two potential COVID-19 vaccine candidates, covering certain liabilities that could result from the use of the vaccine. This includes the University of Oxford vaccine candidate, which is sponsored by AstraZeneca, and the University of Queensland vaccine candidate, which is marketed by Seqirus.'

The devil might be in the detail, in that Moderna may be holding out for greater cover.
 

Lynda2475

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Definitely need better vaccines well before 2026. It should not take 5 years to create an mrna facility, so stupid of government to agree to funding with CSL so far out if this is the case. Should have gone to tender with other companies to get it much faster.

If proven safe switching to Novovax makes sense rather than continuing to produce a vaccine that has the issues that AZ and J&J do, but if that is going to take a similar time frame then skip it and go straight to mrna facility asap.

UK is now rolling out moderna from this week, our govt needs to get a moderna agreement happening so we have two mrna import choices. Moderna storage temps not as extreme as Pfizer although still greater than AZ.
 

mviy

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Definitely need better vaccines well before 2026. It should not take 5 years to create an mrna facility, so stupid of government to agree to funding with CSL so far out if this is the case. Should have gone to tender with other companies to get it much faster.
The government does not have an unlimited budget to spend on health (the debt taken on will need to be paid back), and it took steps to provide more than enough vaccines backing multiple different vaccines with collectively several times the doses needed to vaccinate the Australian population.

It was unfortunate that some rare side effects have emerged with the AstraZeneca vaccine and that some foreign countries don't want to send shipments to Australia.

With most vaccines we don't need to vaccinate the entire population in a short amount of time, and most vaccines take years to get approval. I don't see a rush to need a new facility urgently when it's not likely to make a material difference to when the COVID vaccine rollout completes.

If proven safe switching to Novovax makes sense rather than continuing to produce a vaccine that has the issues that AZ and J&J do
I'm sure that this would be being considered. However to get CSL to switch the government would need to ensure that CSL doesn't lose out financially by doing so and it may still have to honour payments to AZ as well, so it would likely be costly to move across to Novavax before completing making the 50 million does of AZ.
but if that is going to take a similar time frame then skip it and go straight to mrna facility asap.
A mRNA facility is not going to magically solve all our problems. If it did then moving to it quickly would make sense, but I just don't see the potential benefits being significant enough to justify a rush at this time.

UK is now rolling out moderna from this week, our govt needs to get a moderna agreement happening so we have two mrna import choices. Moderna storage temps not as extreme as Pfizer although still greater than AZ.
I'm sure they are considering all their options at this point. With any vaccine agreement they would need to consider how soon the supplier can confirm they will be able to provide doses. If they can't provide till the end of the year or next year then ordering from them may not be attractive.
 

DC3

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...I don't think anyone's disputing that having a facility capable of making mRNA vaccines would be a good thing, but whether we need it before 2026 is a very different question.
2026? We needed it yesterday. 🤔
 

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