Australian health authorities say reports the Oxford University COVID-19 vaccine had recorded a major setback in trials needed to be investigated.
The Oxford vaccine has been put on hold after a participant in a UK trial suffered an adverse reaction.
Deputy Chief Medical Officer Nick Coatsworth told Today the reported adverse reaction in trials did "not mean that the Oxford vaccine is dead".
"But it is a serious adverse reaction, and it needs to be investigated," he said.
The Federal Government has signed a contract with pharmaceutical giant AstraZeneca to buy 25 million doses of the vaccine.
Health Minister Greg Hunt said the Federal Government was pursuing a "diversified COVID-19 vaccine strategy" and the precautions put in place by AstraZeneca over the single participant incident show safety is a primary focus of the trials.
"A COVID-19 vaccine will not be made available to Australians until it passes the strict safety and efficacious regulatory assessments by the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA)," a statement from Mr Hunt's office read.
"AstraZeneca are working to expedite the review of the single event to minimise any potential impact on the trial timeline."
Dr Coatsworth also said it showed the Oxford vaccine developers were following rigorous safety procedures in reporting the incident.
"The focus on safety is exactly the same and I'm actually taking a lot of reassurance out of these early breaking stories this morning," he said.
Phase III clinical trials of the University of Oxford COVID-19 vaccine are currently underway in the United Kingdom, United States, Brazil and South Africa with up to 50,000 people participating globally.
Dr Coatsworth said vaccine development was a "long haul" and he was waiting for further details.
"I'm going to wait to see exactly what the adverse reaction was and whether they do in fact attribute it to the vaccine," Dr Coatsworth said.
In a statement AstraZeneca said the vaccine trial was being halted as part of a "routine action".
"This is a routine action which has to happen whenever there is a potentially unexplained illness in one of the trials, while it is investigated, ensuring we maintain the integrity of the trials."
The company said the data from the trial would be reviewed by an independent committee.
"We are working to expedite the review of the single event to minimise any potential impact on the trial timeline."
Source: 9News https://www.9news.com.au/world/coronavirus-oxford-university-vaccine-adverse-reaction-reported/f7b8f8a3-84d0-4cfa-8c2e-c6e944d6d0d1