The fight against Covid goes on through vaccines… This Monday December 20, the European Medicines Agency announced they have approved marketing authorization of Nuvaxovid, the vaccine developed by American laboratory Novavax, after assessing results from phase 3 of the clinical trials. It joins the other four vaccines approved by the European regulator on the market, namely Pfizer, Moderna, Johnson & Johnson and AstraZeneca.
The approval has been confirmed in mid-January by the Haute Autorité de Santé, the French regulator stating the vaccine could be a "useful alternative" for people the most difficult to convince about vaccines. But, whilst the Health Minister announced France will get "3.2 million doses" in the first quarter of the year, and has given an option for "3.2 million extra doses" in the second quarter of the year, specifying the first injections will be given from early February, or even late January, delays have been announced in mid-January, the Health Minister annoucing the first deliveries were postponed to "the last week of February".
According to statements from the Health General Director to the Figaro, "1.14 million doses" are to be delivered this week, February 21 to 25, 2022, in France, for first vaccinations planned "the first week of March". Among these doses, 600,000 are to be given in priority to overseas territories, including "120,000 that will be quickly sent to these territories in response to their demand". The 500,000 remaining doses will be available in medico-social or health facility pharmacies in mainland France. Then, from March, France is expected to receive 800,000 doses every week. The European Union has placed an order of 200 million doses to send to their state members.
For the record, this vaccine is a bit different from the other vaccines available on the market… And for good reason: it is said to be “subunit”, namely based on “purified pieces of microbes or treated toxins” as the INSERM explains. Generally, vaccines are better tolerated than inactivated viral vector vaccines, but they can deliver a lower immune response.
Anyway, this could be a way to convince people still not willing to get vaccinated… According to Novavax CEO Stanley Erck, this vaccine “could help overcome key barriers to global vaccination, including the challenges of global distribution and vaccine hesitancy”.
As for results from the clinical trial, they were very encouraging. This past June, data showed the vaccine was 90.4% effective, and even 100% in mild to severe disease. The efficacy is being reassessed by the laboratory because of the Omicron variant; and they are working on a special and more effective version against this very strain.