Indonesia First Country to Approve Emergency Use of Novavax COVID-19 Vaccine

By Lorenz Duchamps
Lorenz Duchamps
Lorenz Duchamps
November 2, 2021 Updated: November 3, 2021

Indonesian health officials have approved the COVID-19 vaccine produced by U.S.-based biotechnology company Novavax Inc., making the Asian nation the first country worldwide to authorize the new shot.

“The first authorization of Novavax’s COVID-19 vaccine exemplifies our commitment to equitable global access and will fill a vital need for Indonesia,” said Stanley Erck, Novavax’s chief executive.

Made using protein-based technology, Novavax’s vaccine uses different technology than the mRNA products offered by BioNTech/Pfizer and Moderna.

The Novavax jab implements a more traditional technique and works by introducing spike protein of the virus made in moth cells and an adjuvant made from natural soapbark tree extract to the immune system. It does not contain any live or inactivated virus, and is unable to replicate or cause COVID-19, according to the company.

In addition, the company also announced in a statement on Nov. 1 that the global distribution of the vaccine is likely easier because it can be stored at 2 to 8 degrees Celsius (35.6 to 46.4 degrees Fahrenheit).

“The use of existing vaccine supply channels with more traditional cold chain capabilities is possible, potentially increasing access in hard-to-reach areas and vaccination rates across the nation. Initial shipments into Indonesia are expected to begin imminently,” it said.

Adar Poonawalla, the chief executive officer of the world’s largest vaccine manufacturer, Serum Institute in India (SII)—which manufactures the product under the name Covovax—said the company is working to ensure “the first protein-based COVID-19 vaccine option in Indonesia is available for all awaiting its arrival.”

“Access to supply of a safe and highly effective vaccine, coupled with the ease of its distribution, should be a critical enabler to help Indonesia control the current coronavirus outbreak,” Poonawalla said.

A two-dose regime of the Novavax COVID-19 vaccine demonstrates almost 90 percent efficacy against the original strain of COVID-19, according to a June study published in the New England Journal of Medicine.

Speaking to EpochTV’s “American Thought Leaders” program in July, mRNA vaccine pioneer Dr. Robert Malone said that he believes Novavax’s COVID-19 vaccine is a more traditional vaccine, and could be a “suitable alternative” for individuals who are “uncomfortable with the genetic vaccine strategy” offered by mRNA vaccines.

Novavax said it has submitted emergency use authorization (EUA) in various countries so far, including India, the Philippines, and Canada.

The company has also sought EUA with the European Medicines Agency and the World Health Organization and expects to submit an application to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration by the end of the year.

Isabel van Brugen contributed to this report.

From NTD News