The Federal Government has given $5 million to the University of Queensland for one potential vaccine, which has also received $10 million from the Queensland Government.
But Mr Bowen said the nation should be spending more on vaccine development.
“We need to have our eggs in more than one basket … but the Federal Governments has just chosen one and the result of that is that we are way behind in the queue to get the vaccine for Australians,” Mr Bowen said.
“You’ve got to be in the discussions, you’ve got to be signing the deals, you’ve got to be funding the research.”
The call for greater investment comes as Australia investigates its ability to find a possible COVID-19 vaccine and manufacture it onshore.
Documents published this week show the Federal Government is seeking “early access” to safe and effective coronavirus vaccines and treatments as soon as they’re available.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison publicly called on any country that finds a vaccine to share it, pledging Australia will do the same.
Tender documents reveal a government audit of its onshore “capacity and capability” to add to existing research and help inform the manufacturing of possible COVID-19 vaccine and treatment is now under way.
The Government is seeking information from organisations already regulated or likely to seek regulation through the Therapeutic Goods Administration.
Respondents must answer questions about their commercial vaccine and treatment manufacturing capability and onshore capacity.
Manufacturers’ willingness to repurpose their businesses to support the manufacturing of COVID-19 vaccines and treatments for the Australian population is also being sought.
Organisations with the ability to manufacture the drug in Australia are also asked to provide details about packaging and transporting and storing vaccines and consumables.
The Government says the details will be used to inform decisions and identify feasible opportunities for COVID-19 vaccine and treatments manufacturing.
Early in the pandemic, experts warned that Australia lacked vaccine-making capacity.