Date published: 
25 August 2022
Type: 
News
Intended audience: 
General public
ATAGI update

On 28 July 2022 the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) provisionally approved Nuvaxovid (Novavax) COVID-19 vaccine (Biocelect Pty Ltd/Novavax Inc) for use in adolescents aged 12-17 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 COVID-19 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

  • ATAGI recommends COVID-19 vaccination in all adolescents aged 12-17 years.
  • Pfizer, Moderna or Novavax can be used for the primary course of COVID-19 vaccination in this age group.
  • Compared with the mRNA vaccines (Pfizer and Moderna), there is less information on safety and immunogenicity of the Novavax COVID-19 vaccine.
  • The recommended primary course dosing schedule for Novavax COVID-19 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 on 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).
  • 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 have 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 of SARS-CoV-2 spike protein and 50 micrograms of Matrix-M as an adjuvant.

The ATAGI Clinical Guidance for COVID-19 vaccine providers and associated documents will be updated shortly.

ATAGI will continue to evaluate further data on the safety and efficacy of Novavax COVID-19 vaccine as it emerges, including in special populations and as a booster vaccine. ATAGI will provide updated recommendations as required.