Three questions about Nuvaxovid, Novavax’s Covid vaccine authorized in France

Yasmina Kattou and Ugo Pascolo with AFP
12:24 PM, January 15, 2022, modified to
14:09 January 15, 2022

The High Health Authority (HAS) has given the green light to a fifth vaccine in France to fight Covid-19, Nuvaxovid, developed by the American laboratory Novavax. What are its specificities? Who can benefit? When will the first doses be given? Europe 1 turns these questions around.

A vaccine to convince the reluctant. The High Health Authority announced this Friday that it authorized the vaccine from the American laboratory Novavax to fight the coronavirus epidemic that is experiencing a strong resurgence with the Omicron variant. Therefore, the French will soon have the choice between five vaccines. Europa 1 returns to the main questions that can be asked before the first injections, scheduled for early February.

What are the differences with other vaccines?

Unlike the product developed by Pfizer-BioNTech laboratories, Nuvaxovid does not use the Messenger RNA technology that is talked about so much among some of the unvaccinated. It is also not a viral vector vaccine, like AstraZeneca or Janssen. The product developed by the American laboratory uses the same technique as the vaccines against whooping cough, meningococcal meningitis and hepatitis B. In concrete terms, this so-called “subunit” product (because it carries only part of the virus and not all of it) contains the famous Covid-19 Spike protein, the one that allows it to enter human cells. There it is injected to trigger an immune response in the patient, thus offering protection.

Nuvaxovid is therefore a conventional technology vaccine, and is an asset in a generalized vaccination strategy. “There are people who do not want RNA, so it is possible that among them, a fairly limited target, some may wish to be vaccinated with a product based on the usual vaccine technology,” estimates Elisabeth Bouvet, from the High Authority, at the microphone of Europe 1 of health.

Who can benefit?

It will be reserved for adults, for the first two doses only, three weeks apart. The HAS specifies that those over 55 years of age can always choose to be vaccinated with Janssen, with two months between doses. Also, the Novavax vaccine should never be used as a booster, due to lack of clinical trials.

When will the first doses be injected?

The first injections should be done in early February, according to the Ministry of Health. More than one million Nuxaxovid vaccines are scheduled to be delivered next month, with 3.2 million doses expected during the first quarter of 2022.

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