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Novavax COVID-19 vaccine approved for use in adolescents aged 12-17


Novavax COVID-19 vaccine (Nuvaxovid) has been provisionally approved by the Australian Therapeutic Goods Agency (TGA) for use in adolescents aged 12 to 17 years.

The Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI) has evaluated data on immunogenicity, efficacy, safety, and international recommendations to make recommendations on the use of Novavax COVID-19 vaccine in this age group.

The Australian Government has accepted advice from ATAGI that adolescents aged 12-17 years can receive the Novavax vaccine for their primary course of COVID-19 vaccination.

Adolescents aged 12-17 years will be able to book in to receive Novavax COVID-19 vaccine from 5 September 2022.

ATAGI Recommendations

Novavax primary course

  1. ATAGI recommends COVID-19 vaccination in all adolescents aged 12-17 years.
  2. Pfizer, Moderna or Novavax can be used for the primary course of COVID-19 vaccination in this age group.
  3. Compared with the mRNA vaccines (Pfizer and Moderna), there is less information on the safety and immunogenicity of the Novavax COVID-19 vaccine.
  4. The recommended primary course dosing schedule for Novavax vaccine is 2 doses, 8 weeks apart. The manufacturer’s dosing schedule is 2 doses, at least 3 weeks apart.
        • While there is no evidence of extended dosing intervals for Novavax, the extended interval of 8 weeks is consistent with other COVID-19 vaccines and evidence from other COVID-19 vaccines has suggested a longer dose interval may improve vaccine effectiveness.
        • The longer dose interval may also reduce the risk of myocarditis and pericarditis, particularly for those most at risk of these side effects (males aged 12-39 years)
  5. People with severe immunocompromise are recommended to receive 3 doses of COVID-19 vaccine, for more details see the Provider Guide to COVID-19 vaccination of people with immunocompromise.

Novavax boosters

Novavax is not registered by the TGA for use as a booster dose in adolescents aged 12-17 years, however, ATAGI has advised that Novavax can be used as a booster in this age group if no other COVID-19 vaccine brand is suitable for that person.

Background information

Novavax COVID-19 vaccine is a spike protein-based vaccine. Each 0.5mL dose contains 5 micrograms of the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein and 50 micrograms of Matrix-M as an adjuvant. Biocelect Pty Ltd/Novavax Inc is the sponsor of Novavax in Australia.

Consideration of variant vaccines

As part of an ongoing review of current and emerging data from both Australia and international settings, ATAGI examined information with respect to the future role of COVID-19 variant vaccines in Australia’s vaccine program, including Moderna’s bivalent COVID-19 vaccine, Spikevax Bivalent Zero/Omicron.

ATAGI continue to emphasise the importance of remaining up to date with the COVID-19 vaccinations recommended for your age or individual health needs. As of 29 August, 63 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines have been administered in Australia.

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Ritchelle is a Content Producer for Healthcare Channel, Australia’s premier resource of information for healthcare.


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