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Coronavirus Watch

FDA Panel Recommends Novavax’s Vaccine

On Tuesday, the federal advisory panel of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recommended a fourth Covid-19 vaccine from Novavax.

This is the first traditional protein-based vaccine in the US and includes adjuvant to boost its effectiveness. The other Covid-19 vaccines from Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines are based on new mRNA technology.

Describing theprotein technology, the USA Today writes “The spike protein found on the surface of the coronavirus that causes COVID-19 is manufactured in insect cells, then delivered, along with the adjuvent, inside a nanoparticle. The immune system learns to recognize this spike protein and to attack it when seen again on the virus.”

While we will be prepared to switch to a variant strain vaccine based on omicron, it is not yet clear if an omicron-specific vaccine will be required. If an omicron-specific vaccine is required in the fall, we are confident we will be ready with our vaccine.

– Novavax in a statement (source: USA Today)

Adviser Michael Nelson, an allergist and immunologist at the University of Virginia School of Medicine, quoted saying “Certainly the benefits outweigh the risks” and the agency should include a warning about heart risks in the package insert.

According to Peter Marks, FDA’s top vaccine official “Having a protein-based alternative may be more comfortable for some in terms of their acceptance of vaccines. Anything we can do to get people … to be able to accept these potentially lifesaving medical products is something that we feel we are compelled to do.”

The new vaccines must get approval from the FDA and the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Coronavirus-19 vaccination watch

According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) COVID vaccination tracker page (as of June 8) 752,781,755 doses have been distributed and 589,852,206 doses administered. According MDH COVID-19 Response vaccine data a total of 10,092,297 doses of Covid-19 (Pfizer & Moderna) vaccines have been administered in Minnesota. According to the MDH latest tally (as of June 8) the confirmed COVID-19 cases in Minnesota are 1,523,307 with 12,692 deaths.