nature: COVID vaccines and kids- five questions as trials begin

With a number of COVID-19 vaccine trials now focusing on paediatric populations across various age groups, specific factors need to be considered.

The following article explores issues such as the consent process for paediatric involvment, the robust immune responses of children, and monitoring for signs of exacerbated immune responses and multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children.

Whilst severe COVID-19 disease in children is rare, the immunisation of children against COVID-19 disease will play an important role in achieving herd immunity.

To read more, please read the article below:
nature: COVID vaccines and kids: five questions as trials begin

NEJM: Effectiveness of the BNT162b2 Covid-19 Vaccine against the B.1.1.7 and B.1.351 Variants

The following article, published in the NEJM, assessed the vaccine efficacy of Comirnaty™ (BNT162b2) in Qatar where the predominant circulating strains of SARS-CoV-2 were the UK and South African variants.

By extracting information from the national COVID-19 databases, vaccine effectiveness against the B.1.1.7 (UK) strain was estimated at 89.5%, and 75.0% against the B.1.351 (South African) strain. Vaccine effectiveness against severe disease caused by infection with either variant strain was 97.4%.

For more information on these results refer to the link below:

NEJM: Effectiveness of the BNT162b2 Covid-19 Vaccine against the B.1.1.7 and B.1.351 Variants

Australia secures Moderna vaccines

The Australian Government has secured the supply of 25 million doses of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine. This agreement will allow access to the current Moderna vaccine formulation (10 million doses) as well as variant-specific versions of the vaccine (15 million doses) in order to address the need for long term immunity and emerging SARS-CoV-2 variants.

Clinical trial results have demonstrated that the Moderna vaccine has 100% efficacy against severe COVID-19 disease, as well as a longer term efficacy of of 90% at least 6 months after the 2nd dose. Supply of the vaccine to Australia will begin only if approval has been provided by the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA).

Discussions with Moderna are also underway regarding the establishment of manufacturing facilities within Australia to ensure continued vaccine supply.

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Australia secures Moderna vaccines

NEJM: Efficacy of NVX-CoV2373 Covid-19 Vaccine against the B.1.351 Variant

Novavax have published preliminary phase 2a-b clinical trial results for their COVID-19 vaccine candidate (NVX-CoV2373), assessing vaccine efficacy against SARS-CoV-2 variants (B.1.351- South African strain). This vaccine candidate is a nanoparticle based vaccine containing pieces of the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein.

In this study, participants aged between 18 and 84 years, received either a 2 dose course of the candidate vaccine or a 2 dose course of a placebo (normal saline). Approximately 30% of participants were seropositive for SARS-CoV-2 prior to commencing the trial. Among the seronegative participants, approximately 94% were HIV-negative and 6% were HIV-positive.

A vaccine efficacy of 49.4% was seen among participants who were seronegative at baseline, regardless of HIV status. In the HIV-negative cohort, vaccine efficacy was 60.1%. A history of previous SARS-CoV-2 infection did not reduce the risk of subsequent infection with the new variants of SARS-CoV-2.

To read the article and view these results in full please refer to the below link:

NEJM: Efficacy of NVX-CoV2373 Covid-19 Vaccine against the B.1.351 Variant

New resource: Australia's COVID-19 vaccine rollout

For easily accessible information relating to the COVID-19 vaccine rollout, the Australian Government Department of Health have created a new resource page. This page will be updated daily and describes the number of vaccine doses administered via the various providers, makes comparisons to international COVID-19 vaccine programs, and provides other sources of useful data.

To view this page please refer to the link below:

Australian Government Department of Health: Australia's COVID-19 vaccine rollout

Guidance for differentiating anaphylaxis from acute stress response for vaccine providers and Emergency Departments

Anaphylaxis following immunisation is extremely rare but can be life-threatening if not managed effectively. There are many conditions with similar presentations to anaphylaxis without being true anaphylaxis (eg. vasovagal, anxiety, vocal cord dysfunction) which can make the diagnosis difficult.

The Department of Health and the mạng VicSIS have put together Guidance for differentiating anaphylaxis from acute stress response for vaccine providers and Emergency Departments. This helpful resource provides a comparison of signs and symproms, as well as highlights the importance of measuring tryptase levels in patients with suspected anaphylaxis.

This guidance can be found in the resources section of the below reference page:

MVEC: Vắc xin COVID-19 và dị ứng

New immunisation reference page: COVID-19 vaccines in people with immunocompromise

Despite vaccination being recommended, there is currently minimal data on the safety and efficacy of COVID-19 vaccines in the immunocompromised population. In principle, there are no theoretical safety risks and no vaccine safety signals have been identified for vaccinated people with immunocompromise ĐẾN date.  Similar to responses following the administration of other inactivated vaccines in immunocompromised people, a reduced efficacy may occur following vaccination against COVID-19. 

Our new reference page collates the various recommendations and guidance available for a broad group of immunocompromising conditions and therapies, as well as providing specific recommendations and/or links where available

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MVEC: COVID-19 vaccines in people with immunocompromise