New Zealand and Australia Covid-19 vaccine Q&A

There are likely to be Covid-19 vaccines available in New Zealand and Australia as early as March 2021.

Basic information about these vaccines is presented below in a Q&A format. 

NB: References and notes may be found at the end of this article.

Q:  Covid-19 is caused by a coronavirus known as “SARS-CoV-2”.  Have vaccines for other types of coronavirus (such as the types of coronavirus that can cause the common cold) been successfully developed and widely used?

A:  No.  There have not previously been any successful vaccines developed to prevent coronavirus diseases in humans.

Q:  What are the Covid-19 vaccines that are expected to be available in NZ and Australia?

A:  The NZ government has ordered up to 5 million doses of the Janssen/Johnson & Johnson – enough for up to 5 million people. (The Phase 3 trial of the Janssen/Johnson & Johnson Covid-19 vaccine is giving volunteers just one dose – see https://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT04505722.)

The NZ government has also ordered 1.5 million doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine (enough for 750,000 people). 

On 17 December 2020, the NZ government announced that it had purchased 7.6 million doses from AstraZeneca (enough of this vaccine which was developed by Oxford University for 3.8 million people) and 10.72 million doses of a Covid-19 from Novavax (enough for 5.36 million people). [1] 

The Australian government has planned to make four different vaccines available and these are as follows:  The Oxford University/AstraZeneca vaccine (33.8m units purchased – enough for 16.9 million people), the Novavax vaccine (40 million units purchased – enough for 20 million people); Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine (10 million units purchased – enough for 5 million people) and University of Queensland/CSL vaccine (51 million units ordered – enough for 25.5 million people). [2] [3]

Q:  When are the Covid-19 vaccines expected to be available in NZ and Australia?

A:  In NZ, the Pfizer/BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine is expected to be available the first quarter of 2021 and the Janssen/Johnson & Johnson Covid-19 vaccine is expected to be available in the third quarter of 2021. [4]

It looks like the Oxford University/AstraZeneca vaccine and the Novavax vaccines may not be available in NZ until the second half of 2021. [5]

In Australia it appears that the Pfizer/BioNTech Covid-19 is expected to be available in early 2021. It looks like the Oxford University/AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine will be available from early 2021. [6] 

The Novavax Covid-19 vaccine looks like it will be available in the first half of 2021. [7]

The University of Queensland/CSL Covid-19 vaccine was not expected to be available until the second half of 2021. [8]  However, this vaccine will probably not be available as a Phase 1 trial showed “the generation of antibodies directed towards fragments of a protein (gp41)” and this was concerning because “the levels induced would interfere with certain HIV tests”. As a result of this problem the CSL vaccine will not proceed to Phase 2/3 trials. [9]

Q:  How are the types of Covid-19 vaccines that will be available in NZ and Australia classified?

A:  The Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine which will be available in both NZ and Australia is an mRNA vaccine.  

The Janssen/Johnson & Johnson vaccine (which will be available in NZ) is a viral vector vaccine as is the Oxford University/AstraZeneca vaccine which will be available in NZ and Australia.

The Novavax vaccine which has been ordered for NZ and Australia is a protein vaccine (as is the University of Queensland/CSL vaccine which has now been shelved due to unanticipated problems). [9]

Ed note: A well-produced video that discusses some of the production techniques used to manufacture Covid-19 vaccines (as well as other new technologies in the development pipeline) may be viewed at the following link:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UQvaQFdGLn8&feature=emb_logo

Q:  What is an mRNA vaccine?

The Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine which will be available in both NZ and Australia is an mRNA vaccine.  

As a class, mRNA vaccines can be essentially considered experimental as there are no mRNA vaccines that have been in general use in the human population to date. [10] (The term mRNA is an abbreviation for “messenger ribonucleic acid”.) 

Naturally occurring messenger RNA plays a vital role in multicellular organisms (such as people) by instructing a part of the cell known as the ribosomes to makes proteins that are necessary for the function of the cell (and the health of the organism as a whole). 

Generally speaking, RNA is a very unstable molecule. In order to prevent degradation of the mRNA and the lipid nanoparticles (LNPs) in which the mRNA is enclosed, the Pfizer/BioNTech mRNA vaccine must be kept at an extremely low temperature (-70° C) after its manufacture.  Once it is defrosted it can reportedly be kept at normal refrigeration temperatures for only five days before it must be discarded. [11]

When an mRNA vaccine is injected into muscle, the synthetic mRNA [12] is taken up into the ribosomes of muscle cells and hijacks the cellular machinery that is usually used to produce human proteins so that the ribosomes instead produce viral proteins. In the case of Covid-19 vaccines, the cells are tricked into producing the spike protein from SARS-CoV-2. The spike protein is then displayed on the cell surface where it is recognised by the immune system as foreign and triggers an immune response.

RNA-based vaccines such as mRNA and modRNA vaccines are claimed to be safe because the synthetic mRNA is said to degrade quickly in the body.  Vaccines produced by mRNA technology are not believed to interact with the DNA in the nucleus of the cell (because the presence of another enzyme known as reverse transcriptase is believed to be necessary for this to occur).  [13] 

Q: Are there any risks identified from mRNA vaccines?

Research to date has identified a number of potential risks from mRNA vaccines.  These risks pertain to mRNA vaccines in general and not necessarily to the BioNTech/Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine (or any other manufacturer’s Covid-19 mRNA vaccine). Potential risks include the following:

  • RNA that is in the spaces between the cells (extracellular spaces) rather than in the cells may cause swelling due to fluid retention (oedema). (The reason for the oedema is said to be due to the fact that “extra cellular naked RNA has been shown to increase the permeability of tightly packed endothelial cells”.) [14]
  • Extracellular RNA can promote blood clotting (which potentially increases of the risk of stroke or heart attack). [14]
  • There is the potential for mRNA vaccines to increase levels of type 1 interferon which may contribute to autoimmune reactions. [14]
  • A 2018 article lists the following as possible risks from mRNA vaccines: “Potential safety concerns that are likely to be evaluated in future preclinical and clinical studies include local and systemic inflammation, the biodistribution and persistence of expressed immunogen, stimulation of auto-reactive antibodies and potential toxic effects of any non-native nucleotides and delivery system components”. [14]

Clinical trials of the mRNA vaccine ordered by the NZ and Australian governments are not yet complete

In addition to the potential risks discussed above, it is important to realise that the Covid-19 vaccines are being fast tracked and the Pfizer/BioNTech mRNA vaccine planned to be used in Australia and NZ will be on the market in both countries PRIOR to the completion of the clinical trials. 

This means that any longer terms risks of the vaccine will not be known when this vaccine is first used in people in these countries. 

Another thing to consider is that with the special requirement for this vaccine to be kept at -70° C, if there were an undetected failure in the “cold chain” and the vaccine were to degrade in transit without the knowledge of anyone involved in the vaccination programme, there could be potential for different side effects than those reported in the clinical trial participants due to degradation of the vaccine’s contents.  (GPS tracking is reportedly being used for the containers of vaccine which should help to ensure the integrity of the cold chain.) [15]

Also, from the information that is publicly available, it appears that the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine has not been tested in conjunction with other vaccines, which may be relevant for some people in NZ given that a large measles vaccination programme is planned for 2021 and many people will also be offered influenza vaccinations if they are enrolled in a GP practice (or visit a pharmacy that offers influenza vaccination).

How to find more information about the Pfizer/BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine

When the Pfizer/BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine is available in NZ, the datasheet should be available on Medsafe’s website.  Reading the datasheet should provide information about the side effects that are known at this stage.

NB:  The trials of the vaccine will NOT have been completed by the time the vaccine is expected to be available in NZ in March 2021 so it is unlikely that the full side effect profile of the vaccine will have been identified.

For example, a Phase 1/2/3 study of the Pfizer/BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine had a start date of April 29, 2020 but the “Estimated Primary Completion Date” is August 1, 2021 (which is the “final data collection date for primary outcome measure”).  Also, some study participants may be followed up for two years for antibody levels “after the final dose” and for “up to 2 years” to determine if they have had “Confirmed COVID-19” or “Confirmed severe COVID-19”.  [16]

If there is anything known about the safety (or risks) of the Pfizer/BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine for people who are using prescription medications, or have recently received other vaccines, this information should also be included on the datasheet. 

This link https://www.medsafe.govt.nz/Medicines/infoSearch.asp allows you to search Medsafe’s website to read about any vaccine or prescription medication. If you do not have a medical or scientific background you may need to consult an online medical dictionary while reading the datasheet for the vaccine or prescription medication.

Please note that as an adult you have the right to make informed decisions about your own medical care, including vaccination.  Vaccination is NOT compulsory in NZ and if you do not want to have a Covid-19 vaccination you have the right to say no.

Q: Could mRNA vaccines be “weaponised” against vaccine recipients?

Mike Adams from www.naturalnews.com has also raised concerns that the versatility of the technology used to produce mRNA vaccines means that there is a possibility that mRNA which is designed to produce antigens other than the spike protein for SARS-CoV-2 could be incorporated into this type of vaccine. 

In an article that discusses the potential benefits and risks of mRNA vaccines he warns that it would be a “simple matter to use the [mRNA vaccine production] platform to build hormone-resembling antigens that would ‘teach’ the human body to attack specific hormones necessary for reproduction and gestation. This, in turn, would theoretically result in widespread female infertility, thereby achieving globalist depopulation goals through vaccine-induced ‘autoimmune infertility’.” [17]

While the use of vaccines to cause infertility by training the immune system to attack specific hormones necessary for reproduction may, at first glance, seem unlikely, anti-fertility vaccines have been in development for decades.  Moreover, one type of anti-fertility vaccine (a vaccine in which the hormone hCG is conjugated to tetanus toxoid) is documented to have been used in a mass vaccination campaign in Kenya. [18]

(The hormone hCG is crucial for maintaining the viability of a pregnancy in the early weeks of gestation and if the body develops antibodies to this hormone, the result can be female infertility – or miscarriage in a woman who is already pregnant.)

Teenage girls and women in Kenya were reportedly encouraged to take what they believed was a tetanus vaccine in order to prevent their future children from developing neonatal tetanus.

The full text of an article about the use of this vaccine in a what can only be considered to be a covert sterilisation campaign may be read at this link: https://www.researchgate.net/profile/John_Oller/publication/320641479_HCG_Found_in_WHO_Tetanus_Vaccine_in_Kenya_Raises_Concern_in_the_Developing_World/links/59f387370f7e9b553eba7372/HCG-Found-in-WHO-Tetanus-Vaccine-in-Kenya-Raises-Concern-in-the-Developing-World.pdf

Considering the unethical mass vaccination campaign discussed above, it is interesting to view the video that is available by clicking on the title “Covid vaccine concern for young women” on the image below.  In the video Professor Sir John Bell from Oxford University says that “these vaccines are unlikely to completely sterilise a population” but that they are “very likely to have an effect that works in a percentage, say 60 or 70%”.   (The short video clip does not include information about what type of Covid-19 vaccine is the subject of the discussion.)

In relation to the concerns expressed by Mike Adams about “autoimmune infertility” it is also interesting to note that a former Pfizer research scientist and a medical doctor recently wrote to the European Medicines Agency asking for a halt to the trials of the Pfizer/BioNTech mRNA vaccine candidate (BNT162b) until the trial protocols were amended.  One of the concerns expressed in the petition by Drs. Yeadon and Wodarg was that a protein that is needed for successful development of the placenta in mammals (known as Syncytin-1) is present in “homologous form in the spike proteins of SARS viruses”.  According to the petition, if antibodies against the spike proteins from SARS viruses were also to act like anti-Syncytin-1 antibodies “this would then also prevent the formation of a placenta which would result in vaccinated women essentially becoming infertile”.  An article outlining the concerns of Drs. Yeadon and Wodarg may be read at this link: https://www.globalresearch.ca/dr-wodarg-dr-yeadon-request-stop-all-corona-vaccination-studies-call-co-signing-petition/5731458

A PDF of their petition to the European Medicines Agency may be downloaded from the link below:

(In terms of possible effects on male fertility from Covid-19 vaccines, this potential risk of the vaccine is belatedly being investigated with a study which was expected to begin in mid-December 2020. This study is not expected to be completed until June 2021. See: https://www.clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT04665258)

Q:  What is a viral vector vaccine?

Another example of Covid-19 vaccines that are being manufactured using a production method that has never before been used to mass produce vaccines for people are a type of vaccine known as “viral vector” vaccines that contain genetically modified adenoviruses.  (Adenoviruses are a class of viruses that can affect humans and some animals and cause a spectrum of illness from mild to severe depending upon the virus and the host.)

The Janssen/Johnson & Johnson Covid-19 vaccine (which has been ordered by the NZ government for use in NZ) and the Oxford/AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine (which has been ordered by both the NZ and Australian governments) are both viral vector vaccines.

Each of the above viral vector vaccines contain genetically modified adenoviruses that have been grown on cell lines derived from aborted human foetuses.

In both of the above viral vector vaccines being developed for Covid-19, the genetically modified adenoviruses include the genetic code for the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein. 

When these genetically engineered viruses are injected into the body, they deliver the viral DNA into the nucleus of the cells of the recipient and the cell then produces the viral protein, which subsequently triggers an immune response. (The viruses in the vaccines have had some of their genes “edited out” to prevent the viruses from being able to replicate in normal human cells.)

The Janssen/Johnson & Johnson vaccine (ordered by the NZ government) is based on a human adenovirus known as Ad26.  The virus is cultured on an “immortalised” line of human cells derived from the eyes of an 18 week old foetus. This cell line is known as “PER.C6”. (See below.)  [19] [20]

The Oxford/AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine (ordered by the NZ and Australian governments) uses a chimpanzee adenovirus which was originally sourced from chimpanzee faeces. [21]  The genetically modified chimpanzee viruses are cultured using another aborted foetal cell line known as HEK 293.  “HEK” is an acronym for human embryonic kidney”. [22] (See below.)

Q: Are there any risks identified from viral vector vaccines?

There are a number of viral vector vaccines used in animals but viral vector vaccines for humans are a relatively new development. 

The only other viral vector vaccine licensed for use in humans is an Ebola vaccine called “Ervebo” which is based on a genetically engineered vesicular stomatitis virus, which was given “conditional authorisation” in the EU [23] in November 2019 and also approved by the FDA in the USA in December 2019. [24]

Viral vector vaccines made using adenoviruses have never before been used in the general human population.

Potential risks from viral vector vaccines will likely vary between the different vaccines.

One possible adverse outcome from being vaccinated with a viral vector vaccine may be neurological or autoimmune problems.

A participant in the Indian trials of the Oxford/AstraZeneca viral vector Covid-19 vaccine (which the NZ and Australian governments have ordered) is reportedly suing after developing neurological problems that were sufficiently serious as to have him admitted to a hospital’s intensive care unit and have left him unable to work as he was able to do prior to becoming acutely ill during the trial of the vaccine. The volunteer received the vaccine on October 1, became acutely ill on October 10 and spent from the 11 to 26 October in hospital. [25]

The Serum Institute of India, which is Oxford University’s partner in conducting the trial, reportedly issued a statement saying that: “While the Serum Institute of India is sympathetic with the volunteer’s medical condition, there’s absolutely no correlation with the vaccine trial. The volunteer is falsely laying the blame for his medical problems on the COVID vaccine trial.” [26]

It was also reported on Eyewire on October 13, 2020 that “AstraZeneca confirmed that a phase 3 trial of its experimental COVID-19 vaccine AZD1222 was put on hold due to a possible safety issue, believed to be a case of transverse myelitis in one subject.” [27]

The website www.investing.com reported that the Oxford/AstraZeneca Covid-19 viral vector vaccine trial was suspended after a participant in the UK trials was “found to have transverse myelitis, an inflammatory syndrome that affects the spinal cord and is often sparked by viral infections”.  [28]

The Eyewire report dated 13 October 2020 noted thatJohnson & Johnson confirmed that it paused further dosing in all clinical studies of its COVID-19 vaccine candidate JNJ-78436735” including the “phase 3 ENSEMBLE trial” and gave the reason as an “‘unexplained illness’ in a participant”.

A professor of infectious diseases at the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, William Schaffner was quoted in the article as saying that safety issue “is likely to be a neurological event”. [29]

Risks from vaccines containing genetically engineered viruses

After the genetically engineered viruses in the Janssen/Johnson & Johnson viral vector Covid-19 vaccine and the Oxford/AstraZeneca viral vector Covid-19 vaccine are injected into a person, they are expected to interact with the DNA in the nucleus of the recipient’s cells in order to instruct the cells to manufacture a version of the spike protein from the virus SARS-Cov-2.       

There are a number of viral vector vaccines used in animals but viral vector vaccines for humans are a relatively new development. 

The only other viral vector vaccine licensed for use in humans is an Ebola vaccine called “Ervebo” which is based on a genetically engineered vesicular stomatitis virus.  This vaccine was given “conditional authorisation” in the EU in November 2019 and also approved by the FDA in the USA in December 2019. (See:  https://www.ema.europa.eu/en/medicines/human/EPAR/ervebo#product-information-section and  https://www.fda.gov/news-events/press-announcements/first-fda-approved-vaccine-prevention-ebola-virus-disease-marking-critical-milestone-public-health ) Given its short time on the market, it is unlikely that any longer term effects of this Ebola vaccine are known at this stage.

Viral vector vaccines made using genetically engineered adenoviruses have never before been used in the general human population and may have longer term risks that are as yet unknown.

Possible risks from vaccines containing tumorigenic cell lines

  1.  The Janssen/Johnson & Johnson viral vector Covid-19 vaccine

The genetically engineered viruses in the Janssen/Johnson & Johnson viral vector vaccine are cultured in “PER.C6” cells which were originally obtained from the eyes of an aborted human foetus that were later “immortalised” by transfection with the E1 minigene from an adenovirus (adenovirus type 5).  [19]

According to an FDA briefing document, the “PER C6” cell line has the dubious distinction of being the “first tumorigenic cell line to be considered for use in the production of a live viral vaccine”. (The vaccine was a ”replication-defective adenovirus vectored HIV-1 vaccine (VRBPAC 2001)” that never seems to have gone into commercial production.)   

A tumorigenic cell line is defined in the FDA briefing document as being a cell line that is capable of forming tumours when injected into an “immunocompromised rodent”. [30]

While there should not be any whole PER.C6 cells in any vaccine that has been made using these cells, there has long been concern that residual DNA from tumorigenic cell lines (which cannot be entirely removed from vaccines) may be oncogenic – meaning that this residual DNA may be a potential cause of tumours.

  • The Oxford/AstraZeneca viral vector Covid-19 vaccine

The genetically engineered chimpanzee viruses in the Oxford/AstraZeneca viral vector Covid-19 vaccine are cultured in what are known as “HEK 293” cells which were obtained from another aborted human foetus.  (HEK stands for “Human Embryonic Kidney”.) The cell line was developed as a culture medium for viruses with the addition of a gene (E1)  from adenovirus type 5 (Ad5).  [31]

At high passage levels HEK 293 cells are known to be highly tumorigenic but lower passage levels of this cell line are believed to be safer. [32] (The term “passage level” refers to the number of times the cells in the culture have been sub-cultured.)

How to find more information about the Janssen/Johnson & Johnson and the Oxford/AstraZeneca viral vector Covid-19 vaccines

When the Janssen/Johnson & Johnson and the Oxford/AstraZeneca Covid-19 viral vector Covid-19 vaccines are available in NZ, the datasheet should be available on Medsafe’s website.  Reading the datasheet should provide information about the side effects that are known at this stage.

NB:  The trials of the Janssen/Johnson & Johnson viral vector Covid-19 vaccine will NOT have been completed by the time the vaccine is expected to be available in NZ in the third quarter of 2021 so it is unlikely that the full side effect profile of the vaccine will have been identified by the time the vaccine is offered to people in NZ.

Based on information about a Phase 2/3 clinical trial of the Janssen/Johnson & Johnson viral vector Covid-19 vaccine  (known as Ad26.COV2.S) in healthy people that has been posted on the https://clinicaltrials.gov/ website, the study is listed as due to begin on May 28, 2020 but the “Estimated Primary Completion Date” is September 15, 2021 and the “Estimated Study Completion Date” is February 2, 2024. https://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT04436276

Based on information about a Phase 1/2a clinical trial of the University of Oxford (AstraZeneca) viral vector Covid-19 vaccine in healthy people in the UK that has been posted on the https://clinicaltrials.gov/ website, the study is listed as due to begin on July 15, 2020 but the “Estimated Primary Completion Date” is September 2021 and the “Estimated Study Completion Date” are both September 2021 https://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT04400838)  This vaccine trial uses a meningitis vaccine as a “placebo” which would make it harder to assess the true side effect profile of the Covid vaccine.

Any information that is known about the safety (or risks) of the Janssen/Johnson & Johnson viral vector Covid-19 vaccine and the Oxford/AstraZeneca Covid-19 viral vector Covid-19 vaccine for people who are using prescription medications, or have recently received other vaccines, should also be included on the datasheet. 

This link https://www.medsafe.govt.nz/Medicines/infoSearch.asp allows you to search Medsafe’s website to read about any vaccine or prescription medication. If you do not have a medical or scientific background you may need to consult an online medical dictionary while reading the datasheet for the vaccine or prescription medication.

Please note that as an adult you have the right to make informed decisions about your own medical care, including vaccination.  Vaccination is NOT compulsory in NZ and if you do not want to have a Covid-19 vaccine you have the right to say no.

Q: What is a protein (or protein subunit) vaccine?

The NZ and Australian governments have each ordered a protein vaccine for Covid-19 produced by biotechnology company Novavax.

In brief, a protein vaccine (also known as a protein subunit vaccine) is a vaccine that contains a protein from a microorganism that is injected into the body order to produce an immune response.

In the case of the Novavax Covid-19 vaccine, the protein concerned is the spike protein from the virus SARS-CoV-2 and it is produced via genetic engineering.

Novavax’s production method is to genetically engineer an insect virus known as a baculovirus so that the virus is modified to include genes for the SARS-Cov-2 spike protein.  The company then produces large number of these genetically engineered viruses by using insect cells (known as SF9 cells) as a culture medium. (This cell line was established from ovarian tissue of the fall armyworm moth (Spodoptera frugiperda).) [33]

The Novavax Covid-19 vaccine (known as NVX-CoV2373) includes an adjuvant to increase the response of the immune system to the genetically engineered spike protein antigens. (Another reason for including an adjuvant is that it allows the company to use a smaller amount of the SARS-Cov-2 spike protein in each dose which makes the vaccine less expensive to produce.)

According to the company’s website the adjuvant, “Matrix-M is composed of 40 nanometer particles based on saponin extracted from the Quillaja saponaria Molina bark together with cholesterol and phospholipid.” [34]

Q: Are there any risks identified from protein or protein subunit vaccines?

As a class protein or protein subunit vaccines are quite a common form of vaccine. 

For example, most influenza vaccines are protein vaccines although they are usually produced by using embryonated hens’ eggs as a culture medium for viruses after which chemicals are used to kill the viruses and obtain the viral antigens used in the vaccine. 

It is interesting to note that Novavax has completed a Phase 3 trial of a flu vaccine it calls Nanoflu manufactured using the genetically engineered baculovirus and insect cell culture system. [35]  Nanoflu has yet to be approved by the FDA but was fast tracked in January 2020. [36]   Based on a brief skim of Novavax’s website it appears that if its Covid-19 vaccine is approved by Medsafe in NZ or the FDA in the United States (or any similar government agency for use in any other country), this will be the first time that the company has brought a vaccine to market.

Side effects from a SARS-Cov-2 vaccine for Covid-19 may be similar to side effects from protein vaccines for other viral infections, such as influenza vaccines. However, the clinical trials of the Novavax Covid-19 will not be completed at the time that the vaccine is available in NZ and Australia and there may be risks from the production process used to manufacture NVX-CoV2373 and/or from its adjuvant “Matrix-M” that are not yet apparent.

How to find more information about the Novavax Covid-19 vaccine

When the Novax Covid-19 vaccine is available in NZ, the datasheet should be available on Medsafe’s website.  Reading the datasheet should provide information about the side effects that are known at this stage.

NB:  The trials of the Novavax Covid-19 vaccine will NOT have been completed by the time the vaccine is expected to be available in NZ and Australia in 2021 so it is unlikely that the full side effect profile of the vaccine will have been identified by the time the vaccine is offered to people in NZ.

Based on information about a Phase 3 clinical trial of the Novavax Covid-19 vaccine in healthy people that has been posted on the https://clinicaltrials.gov/ website, the study is listed as due to begin in December 2020 but the “Estimated Primary Completion Date” is March 31, 2021 and the “Estimated Study Completion Date” is December 30, 2022. https://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT04611802

This vaccine trial uses a saline solution as a placebo which should make it easier to assess the side effect profile of this Covid-19 vaccine.

Any information that is known about the safety (or risks) of the Novavax Covid-19 vaccine for people who are using prescription medications, or have recently received other vaccines, this information should also be included on the datasheet. 

This link https://www.medsafe.govt.nz/Medicines/infoSearch.asp allows you to search Medsafe’s website to read about any vaccine or prescription medication. If you do not have a medical or scientific background you may need to consult an online medical dictionary while reading the datasheet for the vaccine or prescription medication.

Please note that as an adult you have the right to make informed decisions about your own medical care, including vaccination.  Vaccination is NOT compulsory in NZ and if you do not want to have a Covid-19 vaccine you have the right to say no.

Website editor’s note: Every effort has been made to ensure this article is factually correct. However Covid-19 vaccines have come to the market so recently that new information about these products is reported almost daily. Please also note that the articles on this website that cover any health-related topic are provided for educational purposes only and are not intended to replace the advice of a qualified health professional.)

List of references for NZ and Australia Covid vaccines Q&A

[1]  https://www.beehive.govt.nz/release/two-new-vaccines-secured-enough-every-new-zealander

[2] https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2020/nov/27/australias-covid-vaccines-everything-you-need-to-know

[3] https://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/covid-19-coronavirus-nz-buys-second-vaccine-mandatory-mask-order-from-today/YBSTRIX2G7S5RJ5D6B2QRVDEZM/

[4] https://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/covid-19-coronavirus-nz-buys-second-vaccine-mandatory-mask-order-from-today/YBSTRIX2G7S5RJ5D6B2QRVDEZM/

[5] https://www.beehive.govt.nz/release/two-new-vaccines-secured-enough-every-new-zealander

[6] https://www.csl.com/news/2020/20200907-csl-to-manufacture-and-supply-uq-and-ou-vaccine-candidates-for-australia

[7] https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2020/nov/27/australias-covid-vaccines-everything-you-need-to-know

[8]  https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2020/nov/27/australias-covid-vaccines-everything-you-need-to-know

[9] https://www.csl.com/news/2020/20201211-update-on-the-university-of-queensland-covid-19-vaccine

[10] https://childrenshealthdefense.org/defender/covid-vaccine-candidates-safety-concerns/

[11] https://www.acsh.org/news/2020/11/09/why-pfizers-vaccine-must-be-stored-deep-deep-freeze-15141

[12] Synthetic mRNA that has undergone additional modification is termed “modRNA”.  

[13] The reason that the mRNA in the vaccine said not to interact with the DNA in the cell’s nucleus that the presence of an enzyme called reverse transcriptase would be necessary for this process – and the vaccine does not include this enzyme. There are, however, potentially other sources of reverse transcriptase in a human body, including the HIV virus and other retroviruses.

It is interesting to note that “Known infection with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), hepatitis C virus (HCV), or hepatitis B virus (HBV)” is listed on the clinical trial information as a reason for exclusion of volunteers from participating in the Phase 1 and 2 trials of this vaccine. (See: https://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/record/NCT04368728)

The hepatitis B virus has reverse transcriptase activity and one author considers it to be a “retrovirus in disguise”. (See: https://aasldpubs.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1002/hep.1840060437

Reverse transcriptase has also been identified in MMR vaccines.  The source is believed to be avian (bird) viruses, namely avian leukosis virus (ALV) and endogenous avian retrovirus (EAV)  that can be present in the chicken embryos that are used to culture the measles and mumps portion of the vaccine. A paper that reported on the results of testing stored blood samples from children who had been vaccinated once or twice with MMR vaccine did not find any evidence that these avian viruses had been transmitted to the children the via the MMR vaccine; however the blood samples were not collected until at least six months after the children were vaccinated. (See: https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/eid/article/7/1/70-0066_article )

[14] https://www.nature.com/articles/nrd.2017.243

[15] https://www.benzinga.com/markets/20/12/18965204/how-covid-vaccine-transport-will-reshape-freight-tech

[16] https://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/record/NCT04368728 (Accessed December 2, 2020)

[17] https://www.naturalnews.com/2020-05-25-mrna-vaccines-how-they-work-coronavirus.html#

[18] https://www.researchgate.net/profile/John_Oller/publication/320641479_HCG_Found_in_WHO_Tetanus_Vaccine_in_Kenya_Raises_Concern_in_the_Developing_World/links/59f387370f7e9b553eba7372/HCG-Found-in-WHO-Tetanus-Vaccine-in-Kenya-Raises-Concern-in-the-Developing-World.pdf

[19] https://www.gmp-creativebiolabs.com/per-c6-cell-lines_74.htm

[20] https://cogforlife.org/per-c6-hek-293/

NB: According to an FDA briefing document, the “PER C6” has the dubious distinction of being the “first tumorigenic cell line to be considered for use in the production of a live viral vaccine”. (The vaccine was  a ”replication-defective adenovirus vectored HIV-1 vaccine (VRBPAC 2001)” that never seems to have gone into commercial production.)    A tumorigenic cell line is one that is capable of forming tumours when injected into an “immunocompromised rodent”.  https://www.nvic.org/cmstemplates/nvic/pdf/fda/fda-briefing-09192012.pdf 

While there should not be any whole PER.C6 cells in any vaccine made using these cells there has long been concern that residual DNA from tumorigenic cell lines (which cannot be entirely removed from vaccines) may be oncogenic (a potential cause of tumours).  

[21] https://cen.acs.org/pharmaceuticals/vaccines/Adenoviral-vectors-new-COVID-19/98/i19

[22] https://cogforlife.org/per-c6-hek-293/

[23] https://www.ema.europa.eu/en/medicines/human/EPAR/ervebo#product-information-section

[24] https://www.fda.gov/news-events/press-announcements/first-fda-approved-vaccine-prevention-ebola-virus-disease-marking-critical-milestone-public-health

[25] https://www.sott.net/article/445369-Covishield-vaccine-volunteer-sues-Serum-Institute-of-India-Oxford-Group-over-adverse-reaction

[26] https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2020/11/30/india-probe-alleged-astrazeneca-shot-reaction-trial-continues

[27] https://eyewire.news/articles/jj-pauses-covid-19-vaccine-studies-after-unexplained-illness/

[28] https://www.investing.com/news/coronavirus/astrazeneca-puts-covid19-vaccine-trial-on-hold-over-safety-concern-stat-news-2289551

[29] https://eyewire.news/articles/jj-pauses-covid-19-vaccine-studies-after-unexplained-illness/

[30] https://www.nvic.org/cmstemplates/nvic/pdf/fda/fda-briefing-09192012.pdf

[31] https://www.fda.gov/ohrms/dockets/ac/01/briefing/3750b1_01.htm

[32] https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/18378163/

[33] https://fancycomma.com/2020/07/24/novavax-protein-subunit-covid-19-vaccine/

[34]  https://www.novavax.com/our-unique-technology#matrix-m-adjuvant-technology

[35] https://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT04120194

[36] https://www.precisionvaccinations.com/novavax-nanoflu-recombinant-quadrivalent-seasonal-influenza-vaccine