The University of Queensland had been developing the Covid vaccine in partnership with pharmaceutical company CSL and the government had ordered 51 million doses. However, it has been scrapped after several trial participants returned false positive HIV test results. these plans have been abruptly halted over fears the false results could damage the public’s confidence in the COVID-19 vaccination program.
The government was left scrambling to make up the shortfall, ordering millions of potential doses in late-stage trials after the decision was made to pull the plug. Australian vaccine scientist Nikolai Petrovsky had warned the government about the risk of including HIV in a vaccine months before the $1billion deal was signed. He said the problem with the use of HIV was clear in the ‘hamster and mouse data’ but his advice was ignored.
Also, the early trial data suggested the vaccine itself was quite unstable. The Prime Minister urgently ordered more of two other vaccines currently in late-stage trials. The government secured an extra 20 million doses of the Oxford University/AstraZeneca vaccine, taking the total to 53.8 million, and an extra 11 million doses of the Novavax vaccine, taking the total doses of that jab to 51 million.
CSL said the vaccine was safe and was proving effective, but that ‘significant changes would be needed to HIV testing procedures in the healthcare setting to accommodate the rollout of this vaccine’. When it was hinted that the vaccine could not prove to be successful. still government committed millions of dollars to it, which according to the experts is disproportionate.