Novavax Covid vaccine approved for use in NZ

Source: 1News

Novavax's Covid-19 vaccine Nuvaxovid has been approved for use in New Zealand for those aged 18 and over.

It was given provisional approval by New Zealand's medicines regular Medsafe last month.

Nuvaxovid contains a copy of the SARS-COV-2 spike protein to teach the body how to recognise and fight Covid-19.

Covid-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins said the arrival of the vaccine will "be the extra incentive required to get vaccinated against Covid-19".

"There's no reason to doubt that with the introduction of Novavax, New Zealand can continue to nudge up our vaccination rates. We're already one of the most highly vaccinated countries in the world – at 95 per cent of people aged 12 and over – and we can go higher still, which will make us all safer," Hipkins said.

Director-General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield said health authorities were expecting delivery of the vaccine in the next couple of weeks.

The first doses are anticipated to arrive in New Zealand this month, Hipkins said. The agreement with Novavax is for 10.72 million doses.

"I know there's a number of people who have been waiting for the Novavax vaccine, so I'm very pleased we've reached this point and we're now able to make that available for those people who have not been willing to take one of the two vaccines we already have available," Bloomfield said.

Bloomfield said more than 200,000 people have not received a vaccine, so said they were a "potential pool" for Novavax.

He did reflect there had been a low uptake of AstraZeneca - less than 10,000 people.

"Let's just see with Novavax whether the many people who have said they have been waiting for it to come, actually come forward and have it. I encourage them to do so. It's a good vaccine, it's an effective vaccine and it's a relatively safe vaccine. So once we have it available, please if you haven't already had a vaccine, come and avail yourself of that opportunity."

Nuvaxovid is a two-dose vaccine. It is recommended the second dose be administered three weeks after the first.

It can also be administered to people who have received another vaccine as their first dose. It just has to happen 28 days after the first dose was administered.

Nuvaxovid has been approved for use in 38 countries, including by the European Medicines Agency (EMA) and the Australian Therapeutic Goods Administration.

It comes as there were 19,566 Covid-19 cases in NZ on Tuesday.