Indonesia first to green light Novavax COVID-19 vaccine
JAKARTA, Indonesia (AP) – Biotech company Novavax said on Monday that Indonesia had given the world’s first emergency use authorization for its COVID-19 vaccine, which uses technology different from current injections.
The vaccine does not require the extremely cold storage temperatures that some other vaccines require, which could allow it to play an important role in increasing supplies in the world’s poorest countries.
The two-dose Novavax vaccine is made from laboratory-grown copies of the spike protein that coats the coronavirus. This is very different from widely used mRNA vaccines such as Pfizer and Moderna which provide genetic instructions for the body to make its own spike protein.
The emergency authorization of the vaccine is a “very important step” for Indonesia’s COVID-19 vaccination program, said Indonesian epidemiologist Dicky Budiman.
“This vaccine will be much easier to transport, store and distribute in a place like Indonesia, where we have many islands,” he said.
Budiman said if the vaccine rollout is successful, it could lead to its approval and use in other developing countries.
The need for more vaccines remains critical in many countries, including Indonesia.
In June, US-based Novavax announced that the vaccine was found to be about 90% effective against symptomatic COVID-19 in a study of nearly 30,000 people in the United States and Mexico. He also worked against the variants circulating in those countries at the time, he said.
The company said the side effects were mild and included tenderness at the injection site, headaches, body aches and fatigue.
In October, he responded to concerns that vaccine production had been slowed down due to a lack of raw materials and other issues, saying he planned “to reach a capacity of 150 million doses per month. by the end of the fourth quarter “through partnerships with Serum Institute of India, SK Bioscience in South Korea and Takeda in Japan, among others.
Novavax said it has already applied for authorization of the vaccine in the United Kingdom, the European Union, Canada, Australia, India and the Philippines.
Indonesia has been hit by a deadly wave of COVID-19 fueled by the delta variant and post-holiday travel from June to August. New cases have now declined, averaging less than 1,000 a day since mid-October.
About 36% of Indonesians received two doses of a vaccine, and about 58% received one dose, according to the health ministry.
More than 143,400 people have died from the virus in Indonesia. The number is considered an undercoverage due to the low number of tests and plots.
Associated Press writer Niniek Karmini contributed to this report.
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