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COVID-19: Novavax due to arrive in B.C. in ‘next few days’

Novavax, Medicago vaccines can be used as safe, alternatives to mRNA, viral vector vaccines, according to Dr. Bonnie Henry

The newly approved Novavax vaccine for COVID-19 is due to arrive in B.C. “in the next few days,” B.C.’s top doctor said Tuesday.

The Novavax vaccine was approved by regulators in mid-February. At the time of its approval, Dr. Bonnie Henry said it would be made available within weeks.

It now appears due to arrive imminently and serve as an alternative to mRNA vaccines such as products developed by Pfizer plc and Moderna Inc., as well as the viral vector vaccines developed by AstraZeneca plc and Johnson & Johnson.

Novavax is a protein-based vaccine and is approved for use for those ages 18 and up.

Henry said it was safe to mix and match this vaccine with any of the mRNA and viral vector vaccines should a recipient choose to do so.

“There is no need to start again,” she said, referring to those who may have already received a non-Novavax dose for their first or second shot.

“And for those who have not yet started your course of vaccination, Novavax is a perfect opportunity.”

When will Medicago's plant-based Covifenz vaccine arrive in B.C.?

Meanwhile, Medicago’s plant-based vaccine, Covifenz, was given the nod by regulators Feb. 24.

Henry did not provide a timeline on when it would start being deployed in B.C. but, like Novavax, she said it would be a safe alternative to the mRNA and viral vector vaccines.

“It uses what we call a virus-like particle that was developed in plant. And again, it provides a protein to your entire immune system. So it’s different from the mRNA vaccine, where you get the code for developing that protein and it is packaged with a similar adjuvant to what we use for the H1N1 influenza vaccine,” Henry said.

“It’s a similar type of vaccine to the ones we have for HPV [human papillomavirus] and hepatitis.”

Medicago has been approved for use for those ages 18-64.

“They didn’t have a number of older people in the trials,” Henry said. 

“So right now, there’s no reason to believe it’s not effective in older people but the data is not there.”

torton@biv.com

twitter.com/reporton
 

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