Indonesia becomes first country to authorise Novavax Covid-19 vaccine for emergency use

Other countries expected to follow suit.

Faris Alfiq | November 03, 2021, 10:13 PM

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On Nov. 1, Indonesia became the first country to authorise the non-mRNA Covid-19 vaccine, Novavax, for emergency use, Reuters reported.

Novavax said initial shipments into Indonesia are expected to begin "imminently" as the Indonesian government noted that the country will receive 20 million doses of the vaccine this year, Reuters added.

Novavax has filed for authorisation elsewhere

With Indonesia's approval, Novavax chief executive Stanley Erck said that he expects regulators in India, the Philippines and elsewhere to decide on its vaccine for use "within weeks".

Associated Press (AP) added that Novavax said it has already filed for authorisation of the vaccine in the United Kingdom, European Union, Canada, India and Australia.

Erck shared that Novavax is in dialogue with the United States Food and Drug Administration and expects a full submission within the next several weeks.

Novavax vaccine in Singapore by end-2021

Back in August, Senior Minister of State for Health, Janil Puthucheary, said in parliament that Singapore is expected to receive the Novavax vaccine by end-2021.

He said that individuals who are allergic to mRNA vaccines can choose to wait for the Novavax vaccine.

Puthucheary added that the Ministry of Health and the Health Sciences Authority (HSA) are working closely with Novavax to facilitate the regulatory submission for their vaccine.

The review timeline will depend on the availability and submission of data by Novavax to HSA.

Easier to store and transport

Novavax vaccines do not use mRNA technology, which delivers genetic instructions for the body to make its own spike protein. Instead, it was made with lab-grown copies of the spike protein that coats the coronavirus.

According to AP, the vaccine is easier to store and transport, as compared to other mRNA vaccines.

Indonesian epidemiologist Dicky Budiman described the emergency authorisation of Novavax as a "very important step" for Indonesia's vaccination drive.

"This vaccine will be much easier to transport, store and distribute in a place like Indonesia, where we have many islands," Dicky said as quoted by AP.

According to Indonesia's Ministry of Health, about 36 per cent of the population have been fully vaccinated, whereas 58 per cent received one dose of the Covid-19 vaccine.

AP reported that in June, Novavax announced that the vaccine is about 90 per cent effective against symptomatic Covid-19 infection in a study of nearly 30,000 people in the U.S. and Mexico.

The company added that the vaccine also worked against variants circulating in those countries at the time.

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Top image via Mufid Majnun on Unsplash