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A new brand of the Covid-19 vaccine could be available to Australians within a month as the nation continues to battle a surge of cases. 

Health Minister Greg Hunt announced on Wednesday the Novavax vaccine should be available in January.     

The Australian government ordered 51 million doses of the vaccine last January, subject to its approval by the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA).  

In extensive trials, researchers found the Novavax vaccine (pictured) had more than 90 per cent efficacy in preventing Covid-19 infection

In extensive trials, researchers found the Novavax vaccine (pictured) had more than 90 per cent efficacy in preventing Covid-19 infection

In extensive trials, researchers found the Novavax vaccine (pictured) had more than 90 per cent efficacy in preventing Covid-19 infection

‘Novavax has been is going through the Therapeutic Goods Administration, our medical regulator,’ Mr Hunt told 2GB.

‘They’re getting the data and I’m hopeful that subject to that data stacking up, that this will be available in January.’

Mr Hunt said with Australia’s first vaccine dose numbers so high already, every bit helps. 

‘I think that will add – probably, it’s a bit of an estimate – a per cent or so to the vaccine program. But every per cent when you’re at 94 per cent makes a huge difference,’ he said.  

In extensive trials, researchers found the Novavax vaccine had more than 90 per cent efficacy in preventing Covid-19 infection and was 100 per cent effective at preventing severe cases of the disease. 

There is currently limited data on the effectiveness of the Novavax vaccine against Omicron. 

‘We’ve just hit 94 per cent first dose this morning, one of the highest rates in the world, and with one of the lowest rates of loss of life in the world,’ Mr Hunt said.

‘We’re at 90.8 per cent second doses and yesterday was a record booster day, 156,000. So there have been 1.668million boosters [in total so far]. People are stepping forward in massive numbers.’ 

The health minister said that Australians have always been great vaccinators – with a 95 per cent five-year-old childhood vaccination rate – but called on those still resisting getting jabbed to step up.

‘If you’re due for a booster or are among the six per cent that haven’t had a first dose, please come forward,’ he said. 

The federal health minister Greg Hunt (pictured) is hopeful the Novavax Covid vaccine will be available in Australia within weeks

The federal health minister Greg Hunt (pictured) is hopeful the Novavax Covid vaccine will be available in Australia within weeks

The federal health minister Greg Hunt (pictured) is hopeful the Novavax Covid vaccine will be available in Australia within weeks

Mr Hunt said the government would follow medical advice on how many months there should be between getting a second vaccine dose and a booster shot. 

‘At the moment it’s five months, if [the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation] deem that the medical evidence is such that it should be four, then obviously we’ll change,’ he said.  

He also said the perception among some people that there were shortages of vaccine doses was not the case, that there are five million vaccines available.

‘It may be that … an individual pharmacy or practise has [only] so much capacity that they can deliver in a day. So if you say I have to go to this particular general practise, I only want to see Doctor X or Doctor Y, then that vaccination may not be available immediately.’ 

'If you're due for a booster or are among the six per cent that haven't had a first dose, please come forward,' health minister Greg Hunt said. Pictured is a woman getting vaccinated in Sydney

'If you're due for a booster or are among the six per cent that haven't had a first dose, please come forward,' health minister Greg Hunt said. Pictured is a woman getting vaccinated in Sydney

‘If you’re due for a booster or are among the six per cent that haven’t had a first dose, please come forward,’ health minister Greg Hunt said. Pictured is a woman getting vaccinated in Sydney

Mr Hunt said the number of vaccine doses given by state run clinics in NSW has fallen dramatically in recent times.   

‘Our state clinics have decreased [capacity] quite significantly in some of the states and territories. 

WHAT IS NOVAVAX? 

The Novavax Covid-19 vaccine was created using recombinant nanoparticle technology which contains the full length SARS-CoV-2 spike protein and a Matrix-M1 adjuvant (an additional vaccine component that boosts the immune response). 

Doses for Australia will be manufactured in several locations across Europe and Asia.

It can be stored, transported and handled at standard refrigerator temperatures (2-8°C).

Source: Melbourne Vaccine Education Centre 

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‘So, for example, we saw on Monday that there were 52,000 doses in NSW, but 44,000 of them were Commonwealth and under 8,000 were under the state clinics. So we’re encouraging the states to ramp up their doses.’

The health minister said that through the pandemic in NSW the vaccine breakdown has been 60 per cent Commonwealth and primary care and 40 per cent state clinics. 

‘At the moment it’s less than 15 per cent from state clinics in NSW. They’re doing their job, but we want them to step up. It’s understandable, people are tired, but around the country, this is the moment where it’s all hands to the pump,’ he said.    

Mr Hunt also brought some much needed clarity to the modelling prediction of there being 200,000 Covid cases per day by the end of January.  

He said this was a worst case scenario which assumed no hospital surge capacity, that Omicron is as severe as Delta, that there was no behavioural change, a limited booster program and no mask wearing or other related activities.

‘But none of those scenarios are likely to be the case, as (chief medical officer) Paul Kelly said, let alone all of them,’ said Mr Hunt. 

‘[Modelling] can give you a base case, which then helps you with your actions. We know though, when you look at that booster tally which is half a million ahead of schedule, that Australians are doing a great job, our GPs and pharmacists are doing a great job, so all of these things are coming together.’ 

Source: DailyMail

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