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When a health economist thinks a COVID-19 vaccine will be available

A health economist says he doubts a COVID-19 vaccine will be readily available before next July.

Health Program Director at the Grattan Institute, Dr Stephen Duckett, said “it’s still early days” for vaccine development.

The Oxford vaccine, the world’s leading COVID-19 vaccine candidate, is currently undergoing human trials.

“The Oxford vaccine is being trialled in Brazil, I think they’re doing it on 5000 people,” Dr Duckett said.

But it’s still unclear what threshold the vaccine must meet to be considered a success.

“There’s a bit of a question mark about what ‘works’ means,” Dr Duckett said.

“Does it have to give you 50 per cent protection? Does it have to give you 80 per cent protection?”

While there are vaccine provisions in the 2020-21 budget, Dr Duckett said he doesn’t think a vaccine will be available this financial year.

“We won’t know until maybe Christmas, maybe Easter next year, whether it’s achieving the protection against COVID-19 that we want, and then it has to be manufactured and rolled out.

“I don’t think we’ll see it rolled out this financial year.”

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