Australia approves highly effective Moderna Covid-19 jab for children aged 12 ...

Australia approves highly effective Moderna Covid-19 jab for children aged 12 ...
Australia approves highly effective Moderna Covid-19 jab for children aged 12 ...

Australia has approved the highly effective Moderna coronavirus jab for children aged 12 to 17.

One million doses will arrive this month after the American vaccine was given approval by the Therapeutic Goods Administration.

The vaccine requires two doses 28 days apart and latest data from the US shows it is 93 per cent effective against Covid-19 infection, 98 per cent effective against severe disease and 100 per cent effective against death. 

Australia has approved the Modern coronavirus vaccine. Pictured: Pfizer vaccinations for HSC students in Sydney on Monday

Australia has approved the Modern coronavirus vaccine. Pictured: Pfizer vaccinations for HSC students in Sydney on Monday

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Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison (right with TGA boss John Skerrit) speaks to the media during a press conference at Parliament House in Canberra

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison (right with TGA boss John Skerrit) speaks to the media during a press conference at Parliament House in Canberra

The jab - which has been approved for over 18s - uses the same mRNA technology as the Pfizer vaccine and is not linked to the rare blood clots caused by the AstraZeneca vaccine. 

Professor John Skerritt, head of the TGA, said the decision was made to approve the jab in adults only - rather than wait for more data on teenagers - to help speed up the rollout.

'We made the decision in conjunction with the company to do the adults first because that enabled us to reach a decision earlier which can then start the whole process of access to the vaccine in Australia earlier,' he said. 

'The data on the teenagers does look good and we should be able to make a decision again convening the expert advisory committee within the next three or four weeks.' 

Professor Skerritt described the jab as 'really exciting' because of its high efficacy. 

The Moderna jab has been used widely in the UK, Europe and the US where 140million doses have been given.

One million doses are expected to arrive in Australia in late September and three million in each of October, November and December. 

A woman receives the AstraZeneca vaccine at the new drive-through centre in Melbourne on Monday (pictured)

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A woman receives the AstraZeneca vaccine at the new drive-through centre in Melbourne on Monday (pictured)

Everything you need to know about the Modern jab:

WHO IS MODERNA? 

Moderna is an American Biomedical and pharmaceutical firm which specialises in RNA therapeutics.

The company is based in Cambridge Massachusetts and has developed 24 vaccine candidates for diseases like the flu, HIV and the Nipah virus.

It first gained approval for its Covid jab in the US in late 2020.

HOW DOES THE VACCINE WORK?

Moderna, like the Pfizer jab, uses mRNA technology to 'teach our cells how to make a protein—or even just a piece of a protein—that triggers an immune response inside our bodies,' the Centre for Disease Control in the US explained.

That means, those who receive the potentially life-saving shot can gain protection without ever having to risk the serious consequences of getting sick from Covid-19.

HOW EFFECTIVE IS IT?

Even against the highly infectious Indian Delta variant, Moderna's vaccine is highly effective with US clinical trials showing a 94.1 per cent protection rate from coronavirus after the second dose.

DO I NEED TWO JABS? 

Like other Covid vaccines, the inoculation requires two shots about 28 days aparts for maximum results.

IS IT SAFE? 

The Moderna vaccine has proven very safe during its use throughout the world and has been given the green light by Australia's medicines watchdog, The Therapeutic Goods Administration.

However there is no vaccination that is entirely risk-free, so it is best to speak with your GP before receiving the shot.

WILL THE MODERNA JAB REQUIRE BOOSTER SHOTS?

As the coronavirus continues to mutate, boosters shots are likely to be offered to those already fully vaccinated.

This will be the case for Moderna and almost every other vaccine provider.

WHO IS ELIGABLE FOR THE MODERNA JAB? 

The US Centers for Disease Control recommends anyone over the age of 18 is suitable to get vaccinated with Moderna.

In Australia, regulatory health bodies are yet to determine what age group will be eligible.

BUT WHAT ABOUT KIDS?

Given the highly infectious nature of the Indian Delta variant Moderna is in the midst of planning a clinical trial for children aged between 6-12.

About 6000 children are expected to be involved in the US study and the company has also flagged it may include nations like Canada and Australia.

Exactly when the trial is to get underway and if Australia will be involved is still being discussed.

WHAT ADVANTAGES DOES MODERNA HAVE?

Although the Moderna vaccine is similar to the Pfizer jab, it doesn't not need to be stored at minus-75 degrees Celsius in specifically designed medical freezer units.

Moderna doses can be stored at -20 degrees Celsius, roughly the same temperatures as a regular kitchen freezer.

That means it will be far easier to transport the Modern vaccine into rural areas.

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Australia's agreement with Moderna is for 10million doses of their current vaccine in 2021 and 15million doses of booster or variant-specific versions of the vaccine in 2022.

'This means we have an additional 25 million doses of Moderna to add to the 125 million Pfizer doses and 53 million AstraZeneca doses we've already started rolling out,' Prime Minister Scott Morrison said.

'We will have 10 million of the Moderna doses arriving before the end of this year.

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