Regulator hopes Novavax will increase jab rate | Canberra time


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Australia’s latest approved COVID-19 vaccine will be available from late February, after the medical regulator gave Novavax the green light. Novavax is the fourth COVID-19 vaccine to be approved by the Therapeutic Goods Administration and is the first protein-based vaccine to join the nation’s arsenal against the pandemic. Final approval will still need to be granted by the country’s top vaccine advisory group. Two doses of the vaccine will be spaced 21 days apart. The federal government has ordered 51 million doses of the vaccine which will be made available by state clinics, general practitioners and pharmacies. While more than 95% of the population aged 16 and over have received their first dose of vaccine, TGA chief John Skerritt said Novavax will complement existing vaccines such as Pfizer and Moderna. “There are some people, despite massive uptake of vaccination in this country, who have been waiting for Novavax, and it’s great that it has finally been approved,” Prof Skerritt said. “Our dream is to turn our 95% into 97 or 98% in this country.” The Novavax vaccine has not been approved for use as a booster or for people under 18, but the medical regulator has said it will work as soon as possible under a future submission. The trials show the vaccine was over 90% effective with “no strong signals of adverse events”, Prof Skerritt said. Protein vaccines use a non-infectious component found on the surface of the coronavirus and are made in cells in the laboratory. After vaccination, immune cells recognize the vaccine protein as foreign and mount an immune response against it. Australian Associated Press

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