Australia is eyeing a path to normal life after the latest positive coronavirus vaccine trials boosted hopes of ending the world’s pandemic nightmare.
AstraZeneca and Oxford University’s candidate reported a 90 per cent effectiveness rate in late-stage trials and will seek Australian regulatory approval in coming weeks.
The federal government has a deal for 33.8 million units of the vaccine, one of four with Australian agreements.
Health Minister Greg Hunt said health workers and elderly people would be the first to receive the free vaccine, with the wider population set for the jab before the end of 2021.
Australia is also edging closer to having open state borders at Christmas, with Queensland committing to drop travel restrictions as infection rates remain low.
Victoria now has no active coronavirus cases and on Tuesday extended its streak to 25 days without a new infection after crushing a deadly outbreak.
NSW has gone 17 days without a locally acquired case, while South Australia appears to be on top of a cluster that spread to 27 people.
Queensland will open its NSW border on December 1, when the travel restrictions for Victoria will also be dropped provided there are no new infections.