4 Feb 2022

Covid-19: Novavax vaccine gains provisional Medsafe approval

1:44 pm on 4 February 2022

A fourth Covid-19 vaccine has been provisionally approved for use in New Zealand.

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Novavax's Nuvaxovid vaccine has been granted provisional approval by Medsafe. Photo: AFP

Medsafe has provisionally approved the use of the Novavax vaccine Nuvaxovid, for those aged 18 years and over.

Nuvaxovid joins the Pfizer/BioNTech, AstraZeneca and Janssen vaccines in gaining Medsafe provisional approval but still needs to be approved by a Technical Advisory Group (TAG) and by Cabinet before it can be administered.

In a statement, Medsafe Group Manager Chris James said the regulator only approved a vaccine or medicine for use in New Zealand once it was satisfied it had met acceptable standards for quality, safety and efficacy.

"The Medsafe team has worked tirelessly to ensure that Covid-19 vaccine applications are prioritised and urgently reviewed, while still maintaining the same scrutiny that all medicine applications undergo before they can be approved."

Nuvaxovid is a two-dose protein subunit vaccine.

The government has an agreement with Novavax to purchase 10.72 million doses of the Nuvaxovid, which could be delivered as early as March pending advice from the TAG and any Cabinet decision regarding its use.

Both Europe and Australia's medicines regulators have also approved the Novavax vaccine.

The Janssen vaccine is approved for use in New Zealand but has not been used.

The government says the Pfizer vaccine is the preferred vaccine being administered in New Zealand for boosters, regardless of what vaccine was used for earlier doses.

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