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CDC endorses new Novavax Covid vaccine

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The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advisory panel has recommended the Novavax two-dose Covid-19 vaccine for emergency use authorisation.

The move makes it the fourth vaccine to clear that hurdle in the United States, and CDC Director Rochelle Walensky is expected to sign off on it later this week,

Once that happens then 3.2m Novavax shots ordered by the White House will be available to Americans at pharmacies across the country.

Novavax becomes the first vaccine to use the same technology as the seasonal flu shot.

Health officials say that 27m Americans still remain unvaccinated against Covid-19, which is surging around the country again in a highly transmissible variant.

CDC data shows that 77 per cent of Americans are fully vaccinated with the Pfizer, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson vaccines.

Maryland-based Novavax, which received $1.8bn of tax-payer money under Operation Warp Speed, says it hopes to have an updated shot that targets the Omicron variant available later this year.

The company’s existing vaccine was given FDA approval last month for emergency use among adults.

In pre-Omicron clinical trials, the vaccine proved 90 per cent effective at preventing mild, moderate, and severe cases of Covid-19.

It has previously been authorized in 40 other countries, according to The Washington Post.

News of the CDC approval sent shares in the company up by 12 per cent.

The Novavax shot can be stored in normal refrigerator temperatures, while Pfizer and Moderna’s shots need subzero temperatures.

“The primary target population for Novavax will be the 10 per cent to 13 per cent of those that are unvaccinated,” said committee member Dr Oliver Brooks, chief medical officer at Watts HealthCare Corporation in Los Angeles.

“I understand we’re really focused on that population with the hope that perhaps this protein subunit vaccine will change them over from being unvaccinated to vaccinated.”

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