COVID-19: UK approves Novavax’s protein based vaccine


The findings in a nutshell

The UK’s regulator approved Novavax’s COVID-19 vaccine, following it’s approval by the European Medicines Agency in December 2021. This vaccine has also recently been approved for use in Australia for people 18 years and over. The novel COVID-19 vaccine may prove attractive to people who are reluctant to be vaccinated by other available options, as it is a protein-based vaccine which is an established technology. The paper describes the ‘journey of Novavax’ as a vaccine and the delays associated with its development and approval.

Overview of the paper

The key points outlined by this paper are as follows:

  • Nuvaxovid is the fifth COVID vaccine authorised by the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency and the first protein-based vaccine for the UK
  • The vaccine broadens the immune response by using the full-length spike protein and contains antibody targets that are more common to a wide range of COVID variants
  • Clinical trials in the UK, and studies in the US and Mexico have shown very high (90%) efficacy against illness / symptomatic disease and 100% efficacy against serious disease
  • Incidence of serious adverse events was low in both studies reported
  • Reference was also made to an (as yet) unpublished preprint (not yet peer-reviewed) study that suggests that the protection offered by Novavax against Omicron is much better than the other current vaccines
  • The author suggests that offering this novel vaccine may be an opportunity to further improve vaccination rates, particularly targeting those that have been waiting for a vaccine developed using a more traditional platform
  • There was also mention of it being part of the vaccination strategy for the 2022-23 winter in the UK paired with the traditional flu vaccine
Implications for Australian workplaces

Australia is likely to follow in the footsteps of the UK in continuing to offer a broad range of alternative vaccines. This is recommended for the purposes of improved resilience to COVID-related disease, and also because it then allows the research community to determine which vaccines or combinations are most effective.

More information about the Nuvaxovid (Novavax) COVID-19 vaccine, including how it works, who it is recommended for and potential side effects from the perspective of the Australian Government Department of Health can be found here.

Australian workers who were waiting on a proteinbased vaccination now have an option and should be encouraged to get vaccinated as soon as possible.

To find out more about COVID-19: UK approves Novavax’s protein based vaccine read the full article here.

Date published: 4 February 2022

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