Wait for Novavax almost over as TGA approves vaccine for use in Australia

The nation's medical regulator has approved the Novavax jab for use in Australia, with the government hopeful the extra option will encourage the nation's small number of vaccine holdouts to roll up their sleeves.

The Therapeutic Goods Administration has granted provisional approval for the protein-based vaccine, it was announced on Thursday.

Approval from the nation's expert vaccine advisory panel - known as ATAGI - is still required before the vaccine can be rolled out.

The Morrison government has already ordered 51 million doses of the vaccine.

The head of the TGA, professor John Skerritt, acknowledged some people had chosen to wait for Novavax before getting vaccinated.

Professor Skerrit pointed to individuals and social media groups who had been circulating concerns about the mRNA technology used in the Pfizer and Moderna jabs. He said these fears were held despite the technology having been "around for some years".

The Therapeutic Goods Administration has provisionally approved the Novavax for use in Australia. Picture: Keegan Carroll

The Therapeutic Goods Administration has provisionally approved the Novavax for use in Australia. Picture: Keegan Carroll

"The technology on which Novavax is made is an older technology, it uses a protein. And so I would have had literally several 100 emails from individuals and groups who have said, for whatever reason, we'd like to have a protein vaccine," he said.

Professor Skerritt was hopeful the new option could help Australia's vaccination rate reach up to 98 per cent.

Novavax has been only been approved for first and second doses for adults, but Professor Skerrit said talks were under way about the possibility of it being used for booster and adolescent and children's jabs.

The medical regulator has also approved two anti-viral drugs, Lagevrio and Paxlovid, to help treat mild cases of COVID-19 which are at high risk of becoming more severe.

The drugs, which will be free for patients with a prescription from a GP, will be targeted at people in aged care.

The government has secured about 300,000 treatment courses of Lagevrio and 500,000 courses of Paxlovid, which will be delivered throughout this year.

The first deliveries of both medicines are expected over the coming weeks.

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This story Novavax approval sparks hope vaccination rate can hit 98% first appeared on The Canberra Times.