Novavax COVID-19 vaccine discussed by disease expert
To date, almost 7.5 million people have received their first dose of an approved coronavirus vaccine in the UK. The vaccines have started being rolled out in the UK since the end of last year, and the Government is aiming to secure enough supplies to vaccinate the top four priority groups with one dose by mid-February.
How many coronavirus vaccines are there?
There are a number of vaccines still undergoing trials around the world, but only three have been approved for use in the UK so far.
In late 2020, the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine was the first to be approved for use in the UK.
The Oxford University/AstraZeneca vaccine was next to be approved, followed by the Moderna vaccine in early 2021.
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The UK has secured 100 million doses of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine, which is enough to vaccinate 50 million people with two doses.
The UK has also secured 40 million doses of the BioNTech/Pfizer vaccine, and 17 million doses of the Moderna vaccine.
Soon the Novavax vaccine could also be approved for use in the UK, but this will need to be decided by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA).
Additionally, the UK has ordered doses from several other vaccine manufacturers which haven’t yet been authorised for use in the UK.
Other vaccines secured by the UK, but not currently approved by the MHRA, include:
- 60 million doses of the Novavax vaccine
- 60 million doses of the Valneva vaccine
- 60 million doses of the GSK/Sanofi Pasteur vaccine
- 30 million doses of the Janssen vaccine
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What is the Novavax vaccine?
The Novavax jab, which is to be produced on Teesside, was found to be 89.3 percent effective at preventing coronavirus in participants in its Phase 3 clinical trial in the UK.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock said the NHS will be ready to roll out the Novavax vaccine if it is approved.
He added the vaccine’s approval would provide a “significant boost to our vaccination programme and another weapon in our arsenal to beat this awful virus”.
Professor Paul Heath, the Novavax Phase 3 trial chief investigator, said he believed that vaccines could be adapted “at pace” to target new variants of coronavirus.
The Novavax jab was found to be effective against the Kent Covid variant.
He told BBC Radio 4’s Today that the results from the trial were “yet another great step forward for the UK”.
Professor Heath added: “I think the technology we have both with this vaccine, the Novavax technology, and the other vaccines, it is such that they can adapt quickly so we can expect to see, if required, new vaccines or bivalent vaccines, where two different strains are joined together in the one vaccine.
“And that now can be done at pace so that we can keep up with these variants should they prove to be difficult to prevent with the vaccine that we have at the moment.
“We’ve seen for the UK that the UK variant can be successfully prevented with this vaccine, which is great.
“Yes, the South African variant is more difficult and hopefully there will not be more variants but we may expect to see some as time goes on.”
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