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Novavax COVID shot may attract the vaccine-hesitant

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Photo by MATTHIAS BEIN / DPA / dpa Picture-Alliance via AFP

John Burger - published on 06/09/22

Company hopes new drug which uses the same technology in shingles, hepatitis B, and influenza vaccines, will interest those who have hesitated to make use of mRNA vaccines.

A COVID-19 vaccine that is different from vaccines that use messenger RNA technology is set to receive approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

Advisers to the FDA on Tuesday voted to recommend that the agency authorize Novavax’s COVID vaccine for use in adults, Reuters reported. The drugmaker hopes the vaccine will attract some Americans who have been skeptical of COVID vaccines in general. 

In addition, the Gaithersburg, Maryland, based pharmaceutical company did not use abortion-derived cell lines in the production of this vaccine, although it did use cell lines from an abortion that took place decades ago in some of their confirmatory lab tests, the Charlotte Lozier Institute reported

The Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith said in 2020 that when ethically irreproachable COVID-19 vaccines are not available (e.g. in countries where vaccines without ethical problems are not made available to physicians and patients, or where their distribution is more difficult due to special storage and transport conditions, or when various types of vaccines are distributed in the same country but health authorities do not allow citizens to choose the vaccine with which to be inoculated) it is morally acceptable to receive COVID-19 vaccines that have used cell lines from aborted fetuses in their research and production process.

Unlike the other three COVID vaccines now in use in the U.S., which deliver genetic material that directs host cells to make the coronavirus’ spike protein, Novavax’s vaccine delivers spike protein directly to recipients, Science magazine explained. Approved vaccines for shingles, hepatitis B, and influenza use similar protein-based technology.

Days before the FDA advisers recommended authorization, the FDA published data indicating the Novavax vaccine may rarely cause myocarditis and pericarditis, a problem that has also dogged mRNA vaccines from Moderna and the Pfizer-BioNTech collaboration, Science said. 

“Novavax’s vaccine, which is produced in insect cells and combined with an immune-boosting substance called an adjuvant, has already been authorized in more than 40 countries including the United Kingdom, Canada, Germany, and Australia; it has also won emergency authorizations from the European Union and the World Health Organization,” the journal said. 

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