Experts say if the supply of Pfizer and AstraZeneca remains consistent, the extra doses of Moderna could see every adult vaccinated by the end of December.
Infectious diseases expert Professor Robert Booy told Today he was confident every Australian would be able to be vaccinated and the Moderna vaccine could be used either as a two-dose vaccine or as a booster later on.
“Moderna is a lot like the Pfizer vaccine, it’s safe, it’s effective – It could be given as a second after the first Pfizer or completely on its own as a two-dose course,” Professor Booy said.
“It’s well-tolerated and it may be able to be used as a booster so once you’ve had two doses, six months after that if there is still disease around you can have a follow-up dose to maintain your protection.”
Professor Booy said while the rollout of vaccines may seem slow so far, Australia was acting fast to get everyone access.
“In world terms and historical terms, we have done very well. I think we will have a very high proportion of the population vaccinated in the next 12 months,” he said.
The hope that every adult will be vaccinated by the end of 2021 also hangs on there not being any further hiccups with the Pfizer or AstraZeneca vaccines.
AstraZeneca has come under fire in recent months with rare cases of serious blood clots in some people who received the jab.
There have also been reports of allergic reactions to the Pfizer vaccine in some recipients.
Both companies say some adverse reactions are possible with any vaccine and the body of data from large clinical trials indicates the AstraZeneca and Pfizer vaccines are effective in preventing coronavirus.
“Our global commitment remains to play an important role in addressing the current global health emergency posed by COVID-19 by providing a safe and effective vaccine, at no profit during the pandemic,” AstraZeneca said in a statement.
Australia’s top doctors have suggested a “mix and match” approach to vaccinating is also possible using Moderna, AstraZeneca and Pfizer.
“We think there is no reason why you can’t mix and match vaccines,” he said.
“The trial data is not out yet.
“There are some trials being done in the UK, looking at AstraZeneca first dose and Pfizer or Moderna second dose.”
The Moderna vaccine uses the same mRNA technology as Pfizer and has performed similarly in drug trials to date.
The vaccine has been shown to be 94.1 per cent effective in preventing coronavirus infection.
While Moderna is not yet approved for use in Australia, there are already discussions around it being manufactured locally.