ACNEM’s Email to Minister Greg Hunt

On 29th October 2021 ACNEM’s President Dr Mark Donohoe sent the below email to Minister Greg Hunt

Dear Minister Hunt,

I write to you as President of the Australasian College of Nutritional and Environmental Medicine (ACNEM) on the issue of vaccination, and a proposal that we feel will help achieve higher COVID-19 vaccination rates in Australia using Novavax for primary immunisation.

We have observed patient resistance to vaccination for two main reasons: fear of the unknown long-term effects of the novel technologies used in the AstraZeneca (Vaxzevria), Pfizer (Comirnaty) and Moderna (Spikevax) vaccines; and the fear that these highly immunogenic vaccines may worsen their underlying medical conditions. These fears appear to be holding back vaccine uptake.

The Novavax COVID-19 vaccine is a “traditional” protein-adjuvant vaccine with efficacy virtually identical to the currently available vaccines, with what seems to be lower adverse reaction rates.

You have already announced that this vaccine is expected to be approved for use and available in Australia within the next few months. We are concerned that it may be limited to a role as booster shots rather than primary vaccination courses.

We request that access to Novavax as a primary two dose course be granted as early as possible, and be made available to all Australians.

Such access is likely to increase vaccination rates among Australians who are currently hesitant about, or opposed to, the current vaccines. It would provide doctors an effective alternative for patients judged to be at increased risk of adverse reactions to current vaccines.

If your plan is for Novavax vaccine is to be used only as a booster, then we would request that doctors be authorised to prescribe Novavax as a primary two-dose course for particular patients they feel would benefit, and for patients who refuse to take the current vaccines.

We propose further that doctors be authorised to provide patients awaiting access to Novavax with a vaccine deferment certificate (equivalent to a vaccine exemption certificate) which expires within three months of official availability of the Novavax vaccine in Australia, to allow for dissemination of the vaccines.

I request a meeting with you and your advisors to discuss this matter further.

We look forward to working with your Department to improve the choices and uptake of vaccines for all Australians.

Dr Mark Donohoe

Australasian College of Nutritional and Environmental Medicine (ACNEM)

Please view a copy of the letter sent here.