The Forgotten Covid Shot That May Have NO Side Effects on Children

The Novavax Covid vaccine, which may be just days away from approval in the UK, could be safer for children than current shots in the UK, experts say.

It is hoped that the US injection – which uses proven vaccine technology and is manufactured in Teeside – can reduce hesitation and boost uptake in children.

The UK government already has 60 million doses of Novavax on order and studies show it to be 96 percent effective in adults.

But crucially, it was shown to cause fewer side effects compared to those caused by the vaccines from Pfizer, Moderna or even AstraZeneca.

The vaccine, scientifically known as NVX-CoV2373, would be the first protein-based injection approved in the UK, if given the green light.

Protein-based shots are already being given to children to protect against the flu, meningitis and hepatitis.

Experts told MailOnline that vaccine approval could pave the way for rolling out the shot to children, as well as encourage vaccine hesitant to come forward.

Final study data was submitted to the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) last month and approval is expected within days.

Novavax’s injection, officially known as NVX-CoV2373, would be the first protein-based injection to be approved in the UK, if given the green light. Protein-based shots are already being given to children to protect against flu, meningitis and hepatitis

Other Covid injections already approved in the UK are either viral vector vaccines made from a cold virus (AstraZeneca), or an mRNA vaccine made from enzymes (Pfizer and Moderna).

Novavax’s contains proteins that mimic the spikes on the coronavirus, causing the body to make antibodies to fight the infection.

If the body encounters the coronavirus in the future, the body is ready to fight it off.

The injection is given in two doses 21 days apart. Unlike the other shots that need to be stored at ultra-cold temperatures, Novavax can be stored in a normal refrigerator for up to three months.

EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THE NOVAVAX COVID VACCINE THAT HAS PREVED OVER 90% OF PEOPLE BECOMING SICK

How does the vaccine work?

The Novavax vaccine works like other vaccines by teaching the immune system to make antibodies against the coronavirus spike protein.

Researchers inserted a modified gene into a virus called a baculovirus and allowed it to infect insect cells.

Spike proteins from these cells were then assembled into nanoparticles that, while similar to coronavirus, cannot replicate or cause Covid-19. These nanoparticles are then injected into the body via the vaccine, where the immune system mounts an antibody response.

If the body encounters the coronavirus in the future, the body is ready to fight it off. The vaccine is given in two doses.

Are There Benefits of the Novavax Vaccine?

Yes. While Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna shots need to be stored at ultra-low temperatures, the Novavax shot is stable for up to three months in a normal refrigerator.

How effective is the vaccine?

According to the results of phase III studies, the shot offers 100 percent protection against serious illness, including all hospitalizations and death.

It is 86 percent effective against the Alpha (Kent) variant and 100 percent effective in preventing cases caused by the original strain of the coronavirus.

Is the Novavax Vaccine Approved?

Not yet. The UK medicines and health products regulator is reviewing the data on the jab.

In the US, the data will be examined by regulators at the Food and Drug Administration after Novavax applies for Emergency Use Authorization.

And phase three found by Novavax of Maryland of over 15,000 people in the UK the shot had an efficacy rate of 96.4 against mild, moderate and severe disease caused by the parent coronavirus strain.

Meanwhile, a trial of the vaccine in 30,000 people in the US and Mexico found that it provided 100 percent protection against moderate and severe illness.

Protein vaccines already in use include the hepatitis B and meningitis shots, which are routinely given to newborns.

The vaccines currently in use in the UK have saved thousands of lives, while health chiefs said the rollout to children will help keep them in school classrooms.

In July, more than 1 million students in England were forced to miss school because of the virus.

But one in ten people over 18 in England have yet to have their first dose on November 18.

And the uptake among 12- to 15-year-olds was only 38.4 percent, while 63.9 percent of 16- to 17-year-olds had had a first dose.

The small risk the virus poses to children, as well as concerns about myocarditis after vaccination, are believed to be the factors behind the low uptake.

Data from the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunization shows that up to one in 56,000 12- to 15-year-olds will develop myocarditis after their first Covid shot.

But the rate jumps to a whopping one in 23,000 cases after second doses, so the cohort is currently only getting a single shot.

And the AstraZeneca shot has been linked to blood clots in younger people, prompting health leaders to limit use of the Oxford-made injection to those over 40.

But Novavax research data shows that the jab caused only mild and short-term side effects, with no serious side effects.

The study did not include young people under the age of 18 and was not large enough to note any of the very rare side effects, but found that adults generally tolerated the injection well, with side effects reported being mild and short-lived.

Novavax is currently testing its shot on 2,200 12- to 17-year-olds in the US.

The other Covid vaccines also showed similar results in a pilot phase, but experts are hopeful that the Novavax findings will hold up as the vaccine rolls out in the population.

Professor Neil Mabbott, chair of immunopathology at the University of Edinburgh, told MailOnlinethe that because the injection has fewer side effects than the current range of injections used in the UK, Novavax ‘could provide an alternative strategy for use in children who have the very low risk developing potentially serious side effects’.

And similar protein-based technology has been used in routine childhood vaccines for years, he said.

Professor Mabbott said: ‘This may help provide some safety for those who have been hesitant until now to come forward to get their own Covid vaccine.

This may also help address concerns that parents may have about the use of these vaccines in children. This could have a positive effect on the vaccination coverage.’

He added: ‘It is important to mention that serious side effects such as blood clots and heart inflammation following vaccination with the mRNA-based (Pfizer or Moderna) and adenovirus-based (AstraZeneca or Janssen) Covid vaccines are very rare.

The UK has ordered 60 million doses of the Novavax vaccine.  In all, Britain has ordered more than 400 million doses of eight different vaccines, but so far only four have been approved by the MHRA: AstraZeneca, Pfizer, Moderna and Janssen

The UK has ordered 60 million doses of the Novavax vaccine. In all, Britain has ordered more than 400 million doses of eight different vaccines, but so far only four have been approved by the MHRA: AstraZeneca, Pfizer, Moderna and Janssen

“Using these vaccines to protect against serious illness or death after coronavirus infection still outweighs the very low risk of side effects.”

But he noted that an approval of the Novavax vaccine “could have a positive effect on vaccine uptake by encouraging as many people as possible to get fully vaccinated against the coronavirus.”

the MHRA decides whether a vaccine is approved based on data on safety, quality and effectiveness.

The agency told MailOnline that due to commercial confidentiality it could not indicate when it expects to make a decision.

And Novavax told MailOnline “the timeline is in the hands of the regulatory authorities.”

dr. Michael Head, senior research fellow in global health at the University of Southampton, told MailOnline: ‘A new vaccine approval will be excellent news.

‘The publicly available data on Novavax look promising, both in terms of effectiveness, but above all with regard to safety.

“The existing COVID-19 vaccines are excellent. But if extra people can be persuaded to get vaccinated because Novavax is a ‘tried and tested’ approach to vaccine development, then that can only be a good thing.”

dr. Alexander Edwards, an associate professor of biomedical engineering at the University of Reading, told MailOnline that the Novavax vaccine is “hugely exciting” because it is made differently from the other Covid shots used in the UK and contains very different ingredients.

He said: ‘The more different tools we have to reduce the damage caused by Covid, the better.

“All vaccines stimulate antibody responses that effectively neutralize the virus and stop it from growing in our bodies – and the main benefit of this is a really impressive reduction in the risk of serious disease.

“But it also helps slow the spread, so vaccinating protects you, but also helps others.”

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