By Charlie Coë For Daily Mail Australia
Published: 17:05 BST, 6 September 2020 | Updated: 00:06 BST, 7 September 2020
The Australian government has locked in a deal to get access to the University of Oxford COVID-19 vaccine as early as January if it is deemed safe and effective.
Australians would receive 3.8million doses of the drug being developed by UK firm AstraZeneca in the first two months of next year.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison will on Monday unveil agreements worth $1.7billion with both AstraZeneca and the pharmaceutical firm behind a University of Queensland vaccine to make 84.4million doses if the drugs are approved.
Researchers at the UQ are in early controlled-group stages in the testing of their vaccine - known as phase one - while the University of Oxford scientists are at the more advanced phase-three stage involving 30,000 people.
A chemist is pictured at AstraZeneca's headquarters in Sydney on August 19. Australians are set to get early access to 3.8million doses of the University of Oxford COVID-19 vaccine as early as January 2021 if it is deemed safe
The early access doses would be given to Australians most vulnerable to the disease first and then front-line healthcare workers.
Meanwhile, the tens of millions of additional doses would be produced primarily in Melbourne and available to the rest of the population 'progressively' throughout 2021.
'Australians will gain free access to a COVID-19 vaccine in 2021 if trials prove successful,' Mr Morrison said.
'By securing the production and supply agreements, Australians will be among the first in the world to receive a safe and effective vaccine, should it pass late-stage testing.
'There are no guarantees that these vaccines will prove successful, however, the agreement puts Australia at the top of the queue if our medical experts give the vaccines the green light.'
The agreement released by the Federal Government on Sunday said 33.8million of the doses would be for the Oxford vaccine and 51million would be the UQ version.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison at AstraZeneca headquarters in Sydney in August. He said Australia would be the 'first in the world' to gain access to a 'safe and effective' vaccine if they are found to be