AstraZeneca Covid jabs to be available for some Kiwis

Source: 1News

A small number of people in New Zealand will be able to get the AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine in the coming weeks.

Director-General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield said Pfizer would continue to be the mainstay of New Zealand’s vaccine rollout.

But, he said there were some situations where an alternate vaccine could be appropriate.

Bloomfield said AstraZeneca would only be made available for two groups of people: those who can’t get the Pfizer jab for medical reasons, and for people in jobs where vaccines are mandated and don’t want an mRNA vaccine.

About “a few hundred” people are included in the first category, Bloomfield said.

“On the basis of advice from our Technical Advisory Group, and some work from our vaccines team, we are in the position to be able to make the AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine available as a second option for people aged 18 and over.

“Like the Pfizer vaccine, this is a two-dose course,” he said.

Covid-19 vaccine, file.

Bloomfield said more details about the option would be given next week.

AstraZeneca’s jab is what’s known as an adenovirus vector vaccine. These vaccines work by delivering a modified virus from the adenovirus family (acting as the “vector”) to deliver instructions to cells to make a protein so it learns how to identify Covid-19’s spikes.

In contrast, Pfizer’s Covid-19 vaccine uses mRNA.

Covid-19 mRNA vaccines work by training the body’s immune system to recognise the virus by telling cells to create a harmless “spike protein”, similar to the one found on the surface of the virus that causes Covid-19.