Will the Novavax vaccine convince opponents of the messenger RNA?

Will the Novavax vaccine convince opponents of the messenger RNA?

The High Authority for Health (HAS) gave the green light for the Novavax vaccine on Friday. Developed using a technology more traditional than messenger RNA technology, it is the fifth to be licensed in France

A new vaccine for Covid will arrive in France and another will return: with Novavax and Janssen, based on more traditional technologies, health authorities hope to persuade those who fear RNA vaccines. The Supreme Health Authority, which is responsible for guiding the government on its vaccine policy, gave the green light for a vaccine from the US Novavax Laboratory on Friday. It will become the fifth available in France.

It has also published new recommendations about the Janssen vaccine, which is already available for people over 55, but is actually not used anymore. He and Novavax could in some cases be a “helpful alternative” for people who are reluctant to be injected with messenger RNA vaccines from Pfizer and Moderna, says HAS.

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HAS still believes that mRNA vaccines should be ‘preferred’ for the first injection as well as for the booster, due to their high efficacy. However, she considers Novavax and Janssen to “represent an additional option” for people who “do not wish or cannot receive” mRNA vaccines. At this point, there are still 4.9 million people aged 12 or older who have not received a single dose of the vaccine. Some non-immune people report a lack of confidence in mRNA technology.

In response to a question on Friday, infectious disease specialist Eric Kaumes considered that it is possible that the arrival of the new vaccine could raise the concerns of some who are not immunized because it “uses technology that we know best.” Novavax, sold under the Nuvaxovid name, is a so-called “subunit” vaccine: it contains a component of the virus (not the whole virus like more traditional vaccines), which is inserted into the body to stimulate an immune response. Janssen uses a “viral vector” technology (another virus, from the family of adenoviruses, is used as a platform).

At the beginning of February

The Department of Health said this week that the first deliveries from Novavax are expected in early February. France is due to receive 3.2 million doses of Novavax in the first quarter, including one million in the first deliveries. At the European level, the green light went down on December 21. In its opinion, the HAS sets the conditions for the use of Novavax and Janssen for people who do not want or cannot receive an mRNA vaccine.

For the first two doses, these people can be vaccinated with either Janssen (two months between doses) or Novavax (three weeks between doses), provided they are 55 years of age or older. If they are under 55 years old, they can be vaccinated with Novavax. If not available, Janssen can be used “exceptionally”. As a reminder, HAS believes Janssen can be used in people 55 years of age or older, even if they have had two doses of the mRNA vaccine before. On the other hand, Novavax should never be used as a booster, due to a lack of clinical trials.

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