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Pfizer has previously announced its decision to exit its Perth manufacturing facility in 2023.

The United Workers Union is calling on the federal government to work with Pfizer and the state government to turn the facility into a world-class vaccine manufacturing facility.

“These workers are skilled workers with lots of experience making cancer drugs and injectable products for our health care system. With Pfizer shifting this production to Melbourne and overseas, we have a unique moment to significantly upscale our nation’s industrial capacity to turn around hundreds of millions more vaccine doses,” said United Workers Union Executive Director Godfrey Moase.

“While the McGowan Labor government has made a good start at exploring future options for the site, in the middle of a pandemic the feds have gone missing,” said Mr Moase.

“The feds really need to step up and take responsibility here. We need vaccine manufacturing capacity on the west coast as well as the east coast.

“This isn’t just about looking after Australians. We have a responsibility to workers around the world to help make sure billions of people get this vaccine in a timely manner. If the rise of mutations in the United Kingdom and South Africa has taught us anything, it is that we can only ever be truly safe from COVID-19 when the world is safe.

“Perth is the perfect place to ensure there is timely delivery to our neighbours in Asia and Africa.

“It won’t be easy. There is a lot of work that needs to be done to sort out TGA approval, and to get the right equipment on site. Importantly though we have the right people and the right place. The key ingredient is the political will.”