The Latest: Australia announces coronavirus vaccine deal

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A sign is posted at the entrance to Hinton James dormitory at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill, N.C., Tuesday, Aug. 18, 2020. The university announced that it would cancel all in-person undergraduate learning starting on Wednesday following a cluster of COVID-19 cases on campus. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome)

CANBERRA, Australia — Australia has announced a deal to manufacture a potential coronavirus vaccine being developed by British-Swedish pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca.

“Under the deal, every single Australian will be able to receive the University of Oxford COVID-19 vaccine for free, should trials prove successful, safe and effective,” Prime Minister Scott Morrison said in a statement Wednesday.

Morrison said the Oxford University trial was in a phase-three stage and more work was needed to prove its viability.

“If this vaccine proves successful, we will manufacture and supply vaccines straight away under our own steam and make it free for 25 million Australians,” Morrison said.

Morrison later suggested an Australian-manufactured vaccine would be shared with the country's neighbors, but offered few details.

He said he’d recently discussed vaccines with Indonesian President Joko Widodo, Papua New Guinea Prime Minister James Marape and Fiji Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama.

“Australia will also play an important role in supporting our Pacific family,” Morrison told reporters.

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