SPOKANE, Wash. — The Food and Drug Administration vaccine advisory board voted in favor of authorizing the Novavax COVID vaccine. The vaccine has been in development for quite some time and is said to be 90% effective in adults 18 to 65 years old.
The Novavax vaccine is different from the three other vaccines that are already being administered. The vaccine is made out of what researchers call a well-established technology.
The vaccine is made out of protein rather than mRNA such as Pfizer, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson.
Scientists take spike protein and mix it with an immune booster, called adjuvant. Researchers say it’s similar to the Hepatitis B, and Pertussis, or whopping cough vaccine.
“I think there’s a subset of people that would feel comfortable more with a vaccine that has a long established technology type. The mRNA vaccines are newer in technology, and so I know there was some subset of the population that we’re concerned about a vaccine with not only the new viral vaccine candidate, but a new one that’s based on new technology,” Multicare Rockwood Clinic Cheney physician Dr. Jonathan Staben said.
Staben played a key role as MultiCare’s principal investigator for the Novavax clinical trials.
“We have relationships that we bring into the trials. I think they have a lot of trust with us, being our community health care providers, and so they kind of know if these trials are being recommended by their personal doctor. They might be more prone to enroll in those trials because they know that we are supportive of those,” he said.
Nearly 30,000 people across the country participated in the trial. Out of all of them, five people had adverse effects with Myocarditis, which is inflammation of the heart muscle.
“It remains to be seen how that will play out as you role the vaccine out to lots of more people. I haven’t seen any reports in other countries that have had this vaccine administered for quite some time now as far as being an issue, but it’s a concern with any of these that you have to have ongoing monitoring for adverse effects,” Staben said.
Just like the other vaccines, Novavax will be affected by new variants.
“As we’ve seen, this virus has a large ability to mutate, and that can reduce the effectiveness of vaccines going forward. But all the companies are looking at addressing that situation with changing the how many strains the vaccines can address at the time, updating the vaccines overtime. That’s ongoing work that has been started from the beginning as well,” Staben said.
The FDA can now issue its authorization for the CDC’s review before giving its recommendation. Experts say Novavax is not expected to roll out as quickly as other vaccines. It could take weeks after authorization before it’s made available to the public.
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