A top Australian health official said on Tuesday a COVID-19 vaccine is likely to be available in the next 12 to 18 months, as the country recorded 353 fresh cases of the coronavirus.

Speaking before a parliamentary committee today, Victoria state’s Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton said: “it is unlikely a COVID-19 vaccine will be available in the next six months”, daily Sydney Morning Herald reported.

He, however, added: “There’s a good chance a vaccine would be available in the next 12 to 18 months.”

A total of 353 coronavirus cases were reported today, 331 of them in Victoria, the worst-hit state in Australia. The country also reported 19 more deaths for the second consecutive day.

However, the daily added the coronavirus cases are “stabilizing” after seeing a surge for the past one month, taking the tally to 21,750. A total of 332 people have died in the country due to the coronavirus.

Victoria is currently under a State of Disaster, with a tough stage 4 lockdown imposed in its coastal capital Melbourne. However, the local government is helping businesses affected by the lockdown with cash payments.

The coronavirus pandemic has claimed more than 736,200 lives in 188 countries and regions since it originated in China last December. The US, Brazil, India, and Russia are currently the worst-hit countries in the world.

More than 20 million COVID-19 cases have been reported worldwide, with recoveries exceeding 12.28 million, according to figures compiled by the US’ Johns Hopkins University.

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