Novavax vaccine: how effective? what side effects?

Novavax: good news for people reluctant to RNA vaccines? HAS has just given the green light to this vaccine based on a more traditional technology.

Novavax will become the fifth validated vaccine to be available in France. Until now, France had indeed four vaccines to fight against Covid-19:

-two mRNA vaccines: Comirnaty® from Pfizer / BioNTech and Spikevax® from Moderna,

-two viral vector vaccines, Vaxzevria® from AstraZeneca and that from Janssen, the use of which is restricted to those aged 55 and over.

The HAS maintains its recommendation to give priority to mRNA vaccines, but it believes that this new vaccine can be offered to people reluctant to RNA vaccines.

What is the principle of Novavax?

This is a recombinant protein which uses the SARS-CoV-2 Spike protein associated with an adjuvant. These two components promote the immune response of B and T lymphocytes against the Spike protein, and stimulate the production of neutralizing antibodies. “This technology has proved its effectiveness and its safety in the production of other vaccines used for a long time”, underlines the HAS.

What effectiveness against severe forms and transmission?

According to the Haute Autorité de santé, theThe data from the various studies highlight very good efficacy of Nuvaxovid® against symptomatic forms of Covid-19 (nearly 90%), and especially against severe forms with nearly 100% efficacy.

However, the long-term efficacy, the efficacy against the transmission of Sars-Cov-2 and the efficacy against the Delta and Omicron variants remain to be confirmed (they indeed emerged after clinical trials).

Novavax, for whom?

This vaccine has obtained marketing authorization for adults aged 18 and over. The vaccination schedule requires the administration of 2 doses spaced 3 apartweeks, intramuscularly, preferably in the deltoid (arm muscle).

Side effects?

Tolerance data is satisfactory, HAS estimates. Les the most common side effects are generally “mild” to “moderate” in severity and of short duration: sensitivity (69%) and pain (58%) at injection site, fatigue (47%), headache (43%) and malaise (37%). Their frequency is highest in adults under 65year.

This vaccine can be stored in the refrigerator between 2°C and 8°C, protected from light, for up to 6month.

How to get vaccinated?

The vaccine is not yet available but 3 million doses must be delivered to France soon.

A noter ! Although the primary vaccination schedule for the Nuvaxovid® vaccine requires the administration of 2 doses, HAS considers that people who have received a first dose of another vaccine against Covid-19 (Comirnaty®, Spikevax®, Vaxzevria® or Janssen®) and who refuse or cannot receive a second dose of the same vaccine to complete their initial vaccination schedule, may receive their 2nddose with the Nuvaxovid® vaccine.

Source: HAS, January 14, 2022.

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