Johnson & Johnson vaccine could be viable option for Australia
The United States-approved Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine could be another viable jab option for Australia, an infectious diseases expert says.
The one-dose COVID-19 vaccine was approved by US health authorities on Friday, strengthening the nation's fight against the pandemic.
Australian National University infectious diseases physician, Professor Sanjaya Senanayake said the vaccine could be another good option for Australia to endorse.
"There's no reason why we can't use it," he told Today.
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"It's a bit like the AstraZeneca vaccine - uses an adenovirus to deliver the genetic material for the spike protein.
"When they gave a second dose in the phase one and two studies it did even better."
The vaccine can be stored between two to eight degrees Celsius, making storage easier than the Pfizer vaccine, which requires sub-zero refrigeration.
About 30,000 frontline workers received the Pfizer jab last week, with the country falling behind on its vaccine target.
There were approximately 6000 vaccine doses administered per day, which would need to ramp up to about 150,000 a day for majority of Australians to be vaccinated by the end of the year.
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Professor Senanayake said he was not "worried" about the delay, however he believed the original October target seemed unlikely.
"This is going to take a long time," he said.
"You want to iron out wrinkles at the start so you start off slow and build things up."
University of Queensland infectious disease expert Dr Paul Griffin admitted it was a "disappointing" the vaccine rollout was behind schedule.
"It is a little bit disappointing we haven't been able to hit the ground running," he told Today.
"We want to get this right and we are in a really good position having learnt from some minor errors in the first week."
There are hopes the arrival of 300,000 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine will help speed up the rollout process.
Dr Griffin said the doses could be ready for use as early as next week, helping the country move "full speed" ahead on the rollout.
Australia has secured 54 milion doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine, with 50 million to be made on home soil in Melbourne.
"I think that they are getting close to be being ready ... that puts us in a good position to have a safe vaccine that can be manufactured in our country," Dr Griffin said.
"Once that happens, we will be really able to ramp up our vaccination campaign."