Covid-19: green light for a 5th vaccine in France, that of Novavax, based on classic technology

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This vaccine and that of Janssen (already available for those over 55) can in some cases be “a useful alternative” for people reluctant to be injected with messenger RNA vaccines from Pfizer and Moderna, judges the HAS in its opinion .

Even if four vaccines were previously authorized in France, those of Pfizer and Moderna are, in fact, almost exclusively used. They are based on a novel technology, messenger RNA.

The other two, those of AstraZeneca and Janssen, are redirected to poor countries via the international Covax program.

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The first deliveries of the Novavax vaccine (marketed under the name Nuvaxovid) should take place in early February, the Ministry of Health said this week, pending the opinion of the HAS. The European Union gave the green light on December 21 to this vaccine based on the same technology as that of whooping cough.

Responsible for defining the vaccine policy of France, the HAS believes in its new opinion that we must “favor” mRNA vaccines for the first injections as for the booster, because of their high efficiency.

However, she considers that Novavax and Janssen “represent an additional option” for people who “do not want or can not receive” mRNA vaccines.

These are “people reluctant to take mRNA vaccines” or “those who have experienced a serious adverse event after a first injection”.

In the context of an epidemic outbreak due to the Omicron variant, it is “essential to complete the coverage for the primary vaccination and to accelerate the recall campaign” in these people, insists the HAS.

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 and over.

If they are under 55 years old, they can be vaccinated with Novavax. If it is not available, Janssen can “exceptionally” be used after informing the person that the risk of side effects is increased in this age group.

As a reminder, the HAS estimates that Janssen can be used in people 55 and over, even if they have had two doses of mRNA vaccine before. On the other hand, Novavax should never be used as a booster due to lack of clinical trials.

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