COVID-19

Novavax jab approved as a booster: See if you’re eligible

Previously the vaccine was only available to people receiving it as a first or second dose and it means Australians now have four vaccines to choose from when they get a booster.Australians can access the Novavax vaccine no matter what brand of vaccine they received for their first two doses and it is available from selected pharmacies and GP clinics.It can be used after either AstraZeneca, Pfizer or Moderna now the Therapeutic Goods Administration approved the jab as a booster on Tuesday.University of Queensland Infectious diseases specialist Dr Paul Griffin who ran early trials of the vaccine said unlike AstraZeneca, Pfizer and Moderna mRNA vaccines, Novavax is a more traditional protein based vaccine.“With both mRNA and AstraZeneca they’re both about delivering the instructions to make the spike protein (in the Covid virus),” he said.“The Novavax is perhaps a bit more traditional in its approach, in that we make those spike proteins in the laboratory and inject those in and we need to add something in to boost the response. So there’s also included what’s called an adjuvant.”Prof Griffin has a medical condition that meant he was eligible for a fourth vaccine and he took the Novavax shot on Tuesday.Previously he had received two AstraZeneca shots and a Pfizer booster.He chose Novavax as his fourth shot in line with a theory that using multiple different types of vaccines would maximise the immunity to the virus behind Covid-19 that can be delivered by vaccines.“So called heterologous boosting, there is thought to be some benefit from using different types of vaccines. So now I’ve had three so three different types and four different doses. So I feel that my immunity will be will be maximised through doing that,” he said.“As Covid-19 continues to persist and evolve, we are pleased to be able to offer the first protein-based Covid-19 vaccine registered for use as both a primary series and now booster regardless of previous vaccine history,” Novavax President and Chief Executive Officer Stanley C. Erck said.The approval of the vaccine as a booster dose was based on trials conducted in Australia, South Africa and the UK, the company said.The company has also applied to the TGA to have the vaccine used in adolescents aged 12-17.Millions of Australians are yet to have their third or fourth Covid jab and Professor Griffith urged them to do so.He said they should get their flu vaccine at the same time.Australians aged over 65 and younger people who are immunocompromised have access to a fourth Covid jab but only half those eligible have taken it up so far.Covid is still circulating widely in the community and is on track to be Australia’s second biggest killer after heart disease this year.

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