Responsible for guiding the government in its vaccine policy, the High Authority for Health (HAS) gave the green light to the vaccine from the American laboratory Novavax on Friday. It will become the fifth to be available in France.
She also published new recommendations on the Janssen vaccine, already available for people over 55 years old but which, in fact, is hardly used any more.
He and Novavax can in some cases be “a useful alternative” for people reluctant to be injected with messenger RNA vaccines from Pfizer and Moderna, judges the HAS in its opinion.
In France, Pfizer and Moderna first
Even if four vaccines were previously authorized in France, it is those of Pfizer and Moderna which are almost exclusively used. They are based on a novel technology, messenger RNA.
The other two, those of AstraZeneca and Janssen, are redirected to poor countries via the international Covax program.
An “additional option”
HAS continues to believe that mRNA vaccines should be “favored” for the first injections as well as for the booster, because of their high efficacy.
However, she considers that Novavax and Janssen “represent an additional option” for people who “do not want or can not receive” mRNA vaccines.
These are “people reluctant to take mRNA vaccines” or “those who have experienced a serious adverse event after a first injection”.
Still nearly 5 million unvaccinated
However, because of the epidemic outbreak due to the Omicron variant, it is “essential to complete the coverage for the primary vaccination and to accelerate the recall campaign” in these people, insists the HAS.
At this point, 4.9 million people aged 12 and over have not received a single dose of the vaccine. Some unvaccinated people point out their distrust of mRNA technology.
“A technique that we know much better”
Asked this Friday morning on Europe 1, the infectious disease specialist Eric Caumes considered it possible that the arrival of the new vaccine removes the apprehensions of some unvaccinated because it “uses a technique that we know much better”.
Sold under the name Nuvaxovid, Novavax is a so-called “subunit” vaccine: it contains a component of the virus (and not the whole virus like the most classic vaccines), introduced into the body to trigger an immune response.
It is on this technique that the vaccines against pertussis, meningococcal meningitis and hepatitis B are based.
Janssen’s one uses the “viral vector” technique (another virus, from the adenovirus family, is used as a platform).
First deliveries in February
The first deliveries of Novavax should take place in early February, the health ministry said this week. France is to receive 3.2 million doses of Novavax in the first quarter, including one million during the first deliveries.
At European level, the green light fell on December 21.
Novavax for the first two doses and those under 55
In its opinion, the HAS defines the conditions of use of Novavax and Janssen for people who do not want or cannot receive an mRNA vaccine.
For the first two doses, these people can be vaccinated with either Janssen (two months between doses) or Novavax (three weeks between doses), provided they are 55 years of age and over.
If they are under 55 years old, they can be vaccinated with Novavax. If unavailable, Janssen can “exceptionally” be used.
Novavax banned for booster dose
As a reminder, the HAS estimates that Janssen can be used in people 55 and over, even if they have had two doses of mRNA vaccine before. On the other hand, Novavax should never be used as a booster due to lack of clinical trials.
In recent months, the Janssen vaccine had been restricted to those over 55 because of an increased risk of side effects in younger people.
Initially, it was supposed to be given as a single dose, but studies have shown that this is not enough.
letelegramme Fr Trans