New Zealand Grants Provisional Approval for Novavax COVID-19 Vaccine for Adults

New Zealand medicines regulator Medsafe on Feb. 4 granted provisional approval for the Novavax COVID-19 vaccine for people aged 18 years and over.

The provisional approval does not mean that New Zealand has committed to use Novavax as it is only “one step in a process.”

Ministers will still need to consider advice from the Ministry of Health, as well as guidance from the COVID-19 Vaccine Science and Technical Advisory Group, on the use of the vaccine in New Zealand.

“The Medsafe team has worked tirelessly to ensure that COVID-19 vaccine applications are prioritized and urgently reviewed, while still maintaining the same scrutiny that all medicine applications undergo before they can be approved,” Medsafe Group Manager Chris James said in a statement.

“Medsafe only approves a vaccine or medicine for use in New Zealand once it is satisfied that it has met acceptable standards for quality, safety and efficacy,” James further said.

According to clinical trial results, the vaccine showed an efficacy of around 90%.

The Novavax vaccine is the first protein-based COVID-19 vaccine to be granted provisional approval in New Zealand.

“As the pandemic continues to evolve, we remain committed to supporting New Zealand and the world in the fight against COVID-19,” Novavax President and Chief Executive Officer Stanley Erck said in a statement.

Novavax and New Zealand announced in December 2020 an agreement to purchase 10.7 million doses of the vaccine. The doses could be delivered by April.

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