The AstraZeneca jab is getting a rebrand — the vaccine will now be called Vaxzevria.
The Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) approved the name change on Thursday. Australia’s drug regulator said the change in name will hopefully make it easier for people who’ve received the vaccine, which has been linked to a rare blood clotting disorder, to travel overseas. The vaccine is known as Vaxzevria in Europe and Canada.
“This is expected to alleviate confusion and further clarify that the vaccine produced by CSL and Seqirus in Melbourne is the same as that produced internationally,” TGA said in a statement.
“This name change will also help facilitate international recognition for Australians who have been vaccinated with the AstraZeneca vaccine.”
The TGA said the new name is the only change to the vaccine, adding: “All other aspects, such as manufacturing and quality control, are unchanged and align with the way the vaccine is produced in other jurisdictions.”
They continued: “At this stage, it is estimated that supply in Australia of the VAXZEVRIA-branded product will commence in late 2021. Once supply of the vaccine commences under the new name, the vaccine will no longer be supplied under the original name. Some stock with the original name may still be in use after the name change.”
There’s been a lot of talk about the AstraZeneca jab over the last few months, and whether it’ll be considered “good enough” to allow you to travel around the globe freely.
In the United States, the AstraZeneca vaccine has still not been approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA). This is proving to be quite a worry for those in Australia and the United Kingdom, who have relied heavily on the vaccine. In June, the US barred fully vaccinated people from entering a Bruce Springsteen concert because they hadn’t been vaccinated with an FDA-approved jab — namely, Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson.
British travellers face a similar fate in Europe, where certain batches of AstraZeneca are still not approved either. The Telegraph reported in July that up to five million British people who were given the controversial jab may not be able to go on holiday in Europe if their dose came from a batch manufactured by the Serum Institute of India.
International travel has been off limits since March last year, when Australia closed its borders. They aren’t expected to reopen before the country reaches phase three. You can read more about Australia’s four-phase plan out of Covid here.
As of Friday, August 20, 15.9 million doses of Pfizer and AstraZeneca had been administered in Australia. The AstraZeneca vaccine is only recommended for those over the age of 60, however Prime Minister Scott Morrison recently announced that those in the younger cohorts who would like the jab can do so, if they first consult with their GP.