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AstraZeneca vaccine could get approval in Australia by late January


The #Australian government could grant final approval for the #AstraZeneca/Oxford vaccine by late #January, according to #AstraZeneca #Australia.

A spokesperson for the company told SBS #World #News that the federal government has indicated the vaccine could get final approval by #January 31, with a roll out in #March.

The federal government has signed a deal with #AstraZeneca for nearly 54 million doses of the vaccine in 2021, with 20 million to be produced in #Australia by CSL.

#It comes after #Britain became the first country to approve a coronavirus vaccine developed by #Oxford #University and #AstraZeneca, hoping rapid action will help it stem a surge of infections driven by a highly contagious variant of the virus.

#It was the first to approve a shot developed by #Pfizer of the #United #States and #Germany’s #BioNTech, with the result that hundreds of thousands of people were vaccinated in #Britain before EU countries and the US even began administering it this month.

#Vaccine efficacy

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#While the approval by the UK #Medicines and #Healthcare products #Regulatory #Agency (MHRA) is a vindication for a shot seen as essential for mass immunisations in the developing world as well as in #Britain, it does not eliminate questions about trial data that make it unlikely to be approved so rapidly in the EU or the US.

#Uncertainty has swirled over the most effective dosing pattern for the #AstraZeneca/Oxford vaccine since it released data last month showing a 90 per cent success rate for a half-dose followed by a full dose, but only 62 per cent – still usually more than enough for regulators – for two full doses.

#Vaccines roll out as #Europe undertakes a mass vaccination program

The MHRA said that the results for the half-dose regimen had not been borne out by analysis. #Instead, it approved the regimen of two full doses.

#An official involved in the MHRA decision, said that the vaccine’s effectiveness had risen when the doses were given three months apart.

“#Effectiveness was high, up to 80 per cent, when there was a three-month interval between first and second doses, which is the reason for our recommendation,” #Munir #Pirmohamed, #Chair of the #Commission on #Human medicines expert #Working #Group on COVID-19 vaccines, told reporters.

#Storage and delivery advantages

#Molecular virologist #Dr #Keith #Chappell at the #University of #Queensland said #Astrazeneca’s lower success rate compared to the #Pfizer vaccine, which recorded a 95 percent in its trials, is not an issue.

“#Sixty percent efficacy is still a fantastic number. #It is much better than a lot of the flu vaccines,” he told SBS #World #News.

‘I didn’t feel a thing’: The moment #Mike #Pence got injected with the COVID-19 vaccine

#Astrazeneca’s vaccine can also be stored at lower temperatures compared to the #Pfizer doses, which need to be stored at the ultra-cold temperature of -70 degrees #Celsius at all times.

“#It could be such a logistical nightmare [to transport the Pfizer vaccine]. #Astrazenca’s vaccine is refrigerated and has that huge advantage that it can be transported to reach multiple areas … out to regional communities.”

#People in #Australia must stay at least 1.5 metres away from others.

#Please check the relevant guidelines for your state or territory: NSW, #Victoria, #Queensland, #Western #Australia, #South #Australia, #Northern #Territory, ACT, #Tasmania.

#If you are experiencing cold or flu symptoms, stay home and arrange a test by calling your doctor or contact the #Coronavirus #Health #Information #Hotline on 1800 020 080. #News and information is available in 63 languages at sbs.com.au/coronavirus.

#Additional reporting: #Reuters



[ source link ]
https://www.sbs.com.au/news/astrazeneca-vaccine-could-get-approval-in-australia-by-late-january

##AstraZeneca #vaccine #approval ##Australia #late ##January

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