Vaccine updates: Combined flu and Covid-19 jab to be trialled in Australia

Australians could soon receive a combined Covid-19 and flu jab as a major vaccine developer looks to begin trials here.

A combined flu and Covid-19 vaccine could be on the cards for Australians as early as next year.

Vaccine developer Novavax Inc will start a trial in Australia to test its combined vaccine.

In total, 640 healthy adults aged 50 to 70 years will participate in the study. Participants will have either been previously infected with Covid-19 or given an authorised vaccine at least eight weeks prior to the start of the trial.

Each participant will receive two doses of the combined vaccine eight weeks apart.

Participants will be given a combination of Novavax’s Covid-19 vaccine candidate and its influenza shot, along with an adjuvant or vaccine booster.

Novavax president of research and development Gregory Glenn said the first-of-its-kind study could result in greater efficiencies in vaccine rollouts.

“The combination of these two vaccines, which have individually delivered outstanding results with favourable safety and tolerability profiles, may lead to greater efficiencies for the healthcare system and achieve high levels of protection against Covid-19 and influenza with a single regimen,” he said in a statement.

Novavax had said in May it expected seasonal influenza and Covid-19 combination vaccines to likely be critical in combating emerging Covid-19 variants.

The US-based biotech company had secured a deal with the federal government to provide 51 million doses of its two-dose protein-based Covid-19 vaccine by early 2021.

However, major delays forced Novavax to push back the delivery until 2022, quashing plans for the vaccine to be used as part of Australia’s primary rollout.

The ordered doses will now serve as part of the government’s booster program.

The combined vaccine trial will be conducted at up to 12 sites across Australia. Results are expected during the first half of 2022.

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