France will initially receive only a “relatively small volume of doses”, the Health Ministry said on Tuesday.
On delay for Nuvaxovid. Validated by the European Medicines Agency at the end of December and by the French High Health Authority (HAS) last Friday, Novavax’s new anti-Covid vaccine should not arrive in France before the end of February.
During a press conference on Tuesday, the Ministry of Solidarity and Health clarified that the first deliveries are now expected “in the last week of February.” The “exact date” is not yet known, it was said, adding that all European countries were to be delivered on the same day.
This delay was expected: last week, the ministry recalled that the first deliveries were normally expected “at the end of January”, but that “signs” from the laboratory suggested delays.
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800,000 doses expected each week in March
In addition, France will initially only receive a “relatively small dose volume”, between “1.1 and 1.2 million doses for this first delivery”, the ministry said on Tuesday. In March, then, 800,000 doses are expected each week. As the dose volume is limited, “it is not necessarily compatible with a provision in the vaccination circuit in the city”, for the moment, the ministry said. Discussions on this topic are currently underway.
At this time, the reason for Novavax’s delay is unknown. Asked about this issue, the ministry indicated that it did not have precise information, but added that an “exchange” with the laboratory was planned this week: the issue will be mentioned there. “If we look at the history of the Covid vaccination campaign in our country, in general, at the beginning, there may be delays,” we warn.
A useful vaccine to convince the reluctant?
Based on “classic” technology, Nuvaxovid is a recombinant protein vaccine. The High Health Authority recently authorized its use for primary vaccination -the first two doses, in most cases- for adults, but not for booster vaccination -the third dose, for most people. However, the HAS recommended giving preference to “mRNA vaccines for primary and booster vaccination” as they are particularly effective. This vaccine is not yet recommended for pregnant women.
The health authority highlighted the “very good efficacy of Nuvaxovid against the symptomatic forms of Covid-19 (almost 90%), and in particular against severe forms with an efficacy of almost 100%”. But data on the durability of long-term protection, as well as on the efficacy of the vaccine against the Delta and Omicron variants, are still lacking. Nuvaxovid is injected in two doses, but it can also be given to someone who has received a first dose of another vaccine and who is unwilling or unable to “receive a second dose of the same vaccine to complete their initial vaccination schedule.”
The government believes that this new vaccine, based on more traditional technology, should make it possible to convince people to get vaccinated against Covid-19. “It will allow new people to be reached,” the Ministry of Health wants to believe, while just under 4.6 million people have not yet received any dose of vaccine.
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