The Therapeutic Goods Administration has “recognised” a further two COVID-19 vaccines: Covaxin, made by Indian company Bharat Biotech, and BBIBP-CorV, which is made by Chinese company Sinopharm.
While there aren’t any deals to roll these vaccines out in Australia, this recognition means that people who have received these vaccines overseas will be considered fully vaccinated, according to Australian regulations.
The two vaccines join two others in this category: India’s Covishield, made by AstraZeneca and the Serum Instiute of India, and China’s Coronavac, made by Sinovac.
In a statement, the TGA said that a combination of data from the vaccine sponsors and the World Health Organisation had shown the two jabs to be effective.
“In recent weeks, the TGA has obtained additional information demonstrating these vaccines provide protection and potentially reduce the likelihood that an incoming traveller would transmit COVID-19,” reads the statement.
Both BBIBP-CorV and Covaxin are inactivated virus vaccines, and both require two doses for a full course.
This type of vaccine differs from the three COVID vaccines currently being rolled out in Australia, but it’s the same method as many vaccines used here for other diseases, including influenza and polio.
Inactivated vaccines contain copies of a pathogen (in this case, SARS-CoV-2 viral particles) that is almost identical to the original, but has been prevented from replicating in one way or another. The recipient builds an immune response without making more of the pathogen. The technique is around 120 years old.
The TGA has also assessed the Chinese Convidecia vaccine, made by Cansino, and the Russian Sputnik V vaccine, made by Gamaleya Research Institute, but has not yet recognised either of them, stating that further data is required.
Ellen Phiddian is a science journalist at Cosmos. She has a BSc (Honours) in chemistry and science communication, and an MSc in science communication, both from the Australian National University.
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