Plans for Novavax to be rolled out, ACT to give RATs to students returning to classrooms

By Jackson Graham

January 25, 2022

Greg Hunt
Health minister Greg Hunt. AAP Image/Mick Tsikas)

Australia’s vaccination advisory group has approved the Novavax vaccine for rollout in late February. 

The Australian Technical Advisory Group (ATAGI) on Immunisation’s approval of the protein-based vaccine follows the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) also approving it last week. 

ATAGI has recommended people receive the Novavax in two doses, at least three weeks apart. 

The TGA will do batch testing when the first doses begin to arrive in early February, and if successful, the vaccine will become available from the week starting Monday, February 21. 

Federal health minister Greg Hunt said Australia had purchased 51 million doses of the vaccine. 

Hunt has said he anticipates the vaccination will be taken up by some people who are yet to commence any vaccination against COVID-19, with the Novavax not having approval for use as a booster dose. 

“Studies for its use as a booster dose and in paediatric patients are ongoing,” he said. 

In a sign of the effectiveness of boosters, a preliminary study in Israel has found a fourth-shot of  Pfizer/BioNtech against COVID-19 increases antibodies in people over 60 above those who had only third jabs. 

But the early findings indicate four doses do not completely ward off Omicron infections. 

Australia recorded 58 deaths due to the virus on Monday, the same as the previous day. 

The ACT on Monday also unveiled its back to school plan, with students and staff to receive two free rapid antigen tests each week. 

The tests will be rolled out by the end of week one, but will not be compulsory for students to attend school. 

Instead, the ACT will rely on students and teachers taking tests if they become symptomatic or a close contact of a positive case.


READ MORE:

State rolling out millions of rapid antigen tests after trial at public authority

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