Tuesday, July 16, 2024

Fourth COVID vaccine for Australia

Australian adults will soon have access to a fourth COVID-19 vaccine, after the Australian Government approved its inclusion in the national vaccine rollout program.

The recommendations from the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI) follow Australia’s medicines regulator, the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA), provisionally approving the Nuvaxovid (Novavax) vaccine for use in Australia.

ATAGI has recommended the Novavax vaccine be given in two doses, at least three weeks apart.

Australia has purchased 51 million doses of the Novavax COVID-19 vaccine. Samples of the Novavax vaccines are set to arrive in Australia in early February to enable TGA batch testing.

Subject to successful TGA batch testing, the Novavax vaccine will be available to be administered from the week of 21 February 2022.

“Australians will be able to access a Novavax vaccine through general practices, community pharmacies, Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services, Commonwealth vaccination centres, and state and territory clinics,” said Federal Health Minister, Greg Hunt.

“All primary care vaccine providers, who are currently participating in the vaccine rollout have already received an expression of interest to administer Novavax.

“The vaccine is only approved by the TGA for use in a primary course of vaccination. Studies for its use as a booster dose and in paediatric patients are ongoing. The vaccine does not have regulatory approval for these purposes at this stage,” he said.

ATAGI has recommended that the Novavax vaccine can be administered to pregnant and breastfeeding women.

It also advises the vaccine can be used for people who are severely immunocompromised and who are recommended to receive three doses for their primary course of vaccination.

“ATAGI has noted the vaccine has been demonstrated to be highly effective in preventing symptomatic COVID-19 in adults,” said Minister Hunt.

Novavax is the fourth COVID-19 vaccine to be approved for use in Australia after Vaxzevria (AstraZeneca), Spikevax (Moderna), and Comirnaty (Pfizer).

“Australia is one of the most vaccinated countries in the world against COVID-19, with more than 48 million COVID-19 vaccines administered across the country and over 95% of Australians 16+ having received a first dose,” the Health Minister said.

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