The US is skeptical about the ‘black horse’ COVID vaccine that others abroad can’t get enough of

Nearly 225 million Americans are considered Fully vaccinated against COVID of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which means they have received two or more doses of the vaccine.

Number of people fully vaccinated with Novavax, the latest vaccine approved by US health officials: only 6,278.

The traditional protein-based vaccine, approved by US health officials in July, aims to win over the hearts and minds of Americans who are hesitant to receive a COVID mRNA vaccine. Pfizer and Modernaclaims that the technology is too new to be considered safe.

“For those waiting for a COVID-19 vaccine to be built on another technology, now is the time to get vaccinated,” CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said this summer.

But for 20% of Americans are still unvaccinatedHesitancy about the safety of the mRNA vaccine technology may be just an excuse, experts say, because Novavax is made using the same technology as the flu vaccine — and absorption is still poor.

However, Americans are hesitant about Novavax, for whatever reason, the situation is quite the opposite elsewhere. The vaccine has been approved in 38 other countries, including Australia, France, Ireland, Italy, South Korea and the United Kingdom. according to the World Health Organization. And Japan and Australia have approved the vaccine for use as a booster dose Journal of the American Medical Association.

“It has been fascinating for a long time,” said Dr. John Swartzberg, professor in the Department of Infectious Diseases and Immunization at the University of California, Berevered School of Public Health. Luck, add that production problem delayed the US launch.

“What gets some people excited about it is the fact that it is very similar to a lot of vaccines that have been produced in the past,” says Swartzberg. “Protein vaccines have been used for decades. For some people, that gives them a level of comfort, based on emotion, not science. “

Dr Michael Osterholm, director of the Center for Infectious Diseases Research and Policy (CIDRAP) at the University of Minnesota, said: “Novavax has the potential to provide longer, broader protection than current mRNA vaccines. in. Luck.

But Need more vaccine data to determine the length of protection it provides, as well as its performance against Omicron sub-variables.

“I think it could be a better vaccine,” says Osterholm, though he cautions that, in the early days of the COVID mRNA vaccine, society has “unbridled expectations that eventually the end didn’t happen,” such as a vaccine that prevents infection.

Like the mRNA vaccine, Novavax protects against serious COVID outcomes such as hospitalization and death. But it does not prevent infection or transmission Yale Medicine.

Maryland-based Novavax began developing its COVID vaccine in 2020, during Operation Warp Speed, but production difficulties have slowed progress. Countries began approving the vaccine in November.

In the US, two-dose series are approved for people 12 years of age and older, with injections spaced three to eight weeks apart. Side effects are similar to those of the COVID mRNA vaccine and include pain, and/or swelling at the injection site, fatigue, muscle aches, joint pain, headache, nausea, vomiting and/or fever, according to Yale Medicine. As is the case with the COVID mRNA vaccine, myocarditis – a rare form of inflammation of the heart – has been reported, although rarely.

Bali Pulendran, professor of microbiology and immunology at Stanford University, says Luck he is not clear why the US has yet to approve Novavax for use as a booster, giving people who have received a two-dose mRNA series another option, in addition to the newly approved Omicron mRNA vaccine.

The US Food and Drug Administration did not immediately respond to Fortune’s question why the United States has not approved the use of this vaccine as a booster, even though other countries have already.

“It’s a great vaccine, and I hope people can have access to it if they want to,” Pulendran said.

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