More than 50 million doses of the Novavax vaccine will soon be hitting Australian shores after it was granted provisional approval by the Therapeutic Goods Administration.
The vaccine is expected to be popular among those who are not yet double jabbed because it’s the first traditional protein-based vaccine to be made available in Australia.
Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt said he hoped the new dose would bring the country’s vaccination rate closer to 100 per cent.
‘Obviously we have a first dose national vaccination rate of 95.2 per cent, and we know some people have waited for Novavax,’ Mr Hunt said.
‘Hopefully this will encourage those people in that less than five per cent to come forward and be vaccinated.’
Australia has secured 51 million doses of the Novavax vaccine, with the long-awaited jab expected to arrive in coming weeks
So when will Novavax arrive in Australia?
The Australian government has secured 51 million doses of the Novavax vaccine with the first shipment expected to arrive in the next month.
As the doses have been provisionally approved by the TGA, Novavax now needs to be given the green light by the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation.
Once this is given, the vaccines will be available in coming weeks.
How will it be administered?
Australians aged 18 and above will be given two doses of Novavax three weeks apart.
The vaccine is not yet available as a booster shot or for those under the age of 18.
On December 21 the World Health Organisation said data on the safety and efficacy on the use of Novavax in pregnant women was not yet available.
Australians aged 18 and above similarly to Pfizer will be given two doses of Novavax three weeks apart
‘WHO recommends the use of the COVID-19 vaccine in pregnant women when the benefits of vaccination to the pregnant woman outweigh the potential risks,’ WHO said.
Anyone with a history of anaphylaxis to any component of the vaccine are recommended to choose another vaccine.
Why is it popular with the unvaccinated?
Australian authorities expect those who haven’t already got the jab to roll up their sleeves for Novavax due to its protein base.
TGA head professor John Skerritt said those skeptical about the mRNA vaccines like Pfizer and Moderna would likely be more comfortable being jabbed with the newly approved dose.
‘The technology on which Novavax is made is an older technology. And I would have had several hundreds of emails from individuals and groups who have said, for whatever reason, we would like to have a protein vaccine,’ Professor Skerritt said.
Epidemiologist Catherine Bennett told Daily Mail Australia Novavax was more of a ‘conventional’ approach to vaccines as the receiver was being injected with a protein.
The vaccine is not yet approved to be used as a booster shot but has a 90 per cent efficacy rate against mild, moderate and severe disease, according to WHO (women attend a vaccination clinic in Brisbane, pictured)
‘The viral protein segment that they’re using as a trigger for the immune system is produced in a laboratory,’ she said.
‘Whereas with the other vaccines, it’s actually getting our cells to produce the protein and then your immune system sees it and reacts to it.
‘(Novavax) is doing that bit of work up front, before it’s injected.’
Ms Bennett said because the protein was produced in a lab, researchers had to work hard to ensure there was no contamination.
‘So what goes into you is a bit more complex because it includes a protein,’ she added.
‘You still have then the production of antibodies (with Novavax).’
Novavax can have mild side effects such as muscle aches and a headache after administration (stock image)
Are there any side effects?
Novavax differs from mRNA vaccines like Pfizer and Moderna but all have similar side effects after a person is jabbed.
These include soreness around the site of injection, fatigue, headaches and muscle aches.
The vaccine, which is the fifth to be approved in Australia, is able to be stored in a normal fridge for up to three months, unlike other doses which must be kept at very low temperatures.
The vaccine has been proven to have 90 per cent efficacy rate against mild, moderate and severe disease, WHO said.
WHAT IS SO DIFFERENT ABOUT THE NOVAVAX VACCINE?
The Novavax jab is Australia’s fifth vaccine to be approved by the TGA
The vaccine can be stored in a normal fridge for three months unlike other vaccines which must be kept in low temperatures
It’s the only vaccine approved which has a protein base which is expected to be well received by the unvaccinated population
Other vaccines create parts of the virus that can trigger the immune system but Novavax contains the spike protein of Covid and formulates this as a nanoparticle which can’t cause disease, according to Yale Medicine
Read more at DailyMail.co.uk