The United Kingdom has started its COVID-19 vaccination program this week, with people aged over 80 and some healthcare workers at the front of the queue, in a rollout that is likely to look similar to what Australia will attempt in the early months of next year.
While the details are yet to be confirmed, the Australian government has made it clear the elderly, vulnerable groups and health and aged care workers will be the first in line for a vaccine, with the aim for the full population to be vaccinated by the end of next year.
Almost 135 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine candidates have already been secured by the Australian government under five supply agreements worth billions of dollars, meaning no Australian would have to pay for those vaccines.
But what if someone wanted to skip the government's priority list and get the jab early? Is it possible? How much would it cost?
"There's a private market for those who wish to invest in vaccines," boss of the Therapeutic Goods Administration John Skerritt said last week.
Professor Skerritt was pointing out one of the three vaccine candidates given provisional determination by the regulator is the one developed by Johnson and Johnson, that the government is yet to sign any kind of supply deal with.
It's also not clear if the companies could bring in extra vaccine doses on top of what has been ordered by the government, although AstraZeneca has ruled out selling its vaccine candidate outside of deals with governments, and said it wont make a profit.
A spokeswoman for Janssen Australia and New Zealand, which is also known as Johnson and Johnson, didn't confirm if the company was in talks with the federal government.
"We are in ongoing discussions with many stakeholders, including national governments and global organisations. We are committed to making a safe and effective vaccine accessible globally," she said.
The spokeswoman also said it was too early to talk about how many doses could be sent to Australia if there was no deal with the government, or how much it would cost.
"It is too early to tell what the final cost of producing our vaccine will be," she said.
"For now, our focus is on meeting this challenge of global proportions by bringing an affordable COVID-19 vaccine to the public on a not-for-profit basis for emergency pandemic use."
While the company has started the process with the regulator, it doesn't expect to be supplying interim data to the TGA until January.
The Pfizer BioNTech vaccine, which is the one granted emergency approval in the United Kingdom, has also started a "rolling submission" process with the regulator, but a spokeswoman said its main commitment in Australia was to the government rollout.
"Our role is to ensure that, if our vaccine candidate is authorised or approved for use, we supply our vaccine doses through a robust process, consistent with the agreement we've entered with the Australian government," the statement said.
"Pfizer will continue to work closely with the government to support their vaccine implementation plans. Decisions on further access have not been made."
Infectious diseases expert Paul Griffin said the prospect of a private market for a COVID-19 vaccine wasn't being talked about commonly, but it wasn't necessarily a bad idea.
"Provided it's not detracting from the government rollout that's the priority then that's fine," Professor Griffin said.
Professor Griffin, who is director of infectious diseases at Mater Health Services, said any vaccine available privately would have to be subject to the same rigorous approval process as those under government agreements.
"If people are happy to pay to more themselves to skip the queue, that in some ways would reduce the burden on the government, in some ways its a help, provided they're not purchasing those under the government agreements, but I certainly wouldn't anticipate that would be the case."
The government has confirmed the commitment to give every Australian the vaccine free of charge includes all Medicare-eligible Australians as well as visa holders, excluding those on transit, tourist, eVisitor and electronic travel authority visas.
A Health Department spokeswoman said the government was meeting regularly with a range of vaccine and treatment developers and manufacturers, but would not provide detail for commercial reasons.
"Decisions to make any vaccine available privately are for the sponsoring company, noting all vaccines need to be registered by the Therapeutic Goods Administration before they can be supplied in Australia," the spokeswoman said.
Due to the unprecedented nature of how quickly vaccines have been developed and the new technologies being used, Professor Griffin said there was also no precedent for how much a vaccine could cost on the private market.
He said it wouldn't be wise for people to try and buy COVID-19 vaccines online from overseas before they had been approved in Australia, saying it was important the Australian regulator made the decision based on local population and conditions.
But when the TGA does make its call on vaccines, Professor Griffin said he would have no hesitation.
"The first day I'm eligible I'll be at the front of the queue if I can be."