8 Facts About Novavax, The Latest Non-mRNA COVID-19 Vaccine That’s Now Approved in S’pore

Pfizer, Moderna, Sinovac, and now Novavax.


Before you panic, no, this isn’t make-belief.

Yup, there’s a new COVID-19 vaccine in the market.

The Novavax vaccine, Nuvaxovid, is the newest non-mRNA vaccine that has just been approved for interim use in Singapore by the Health Science Authority (HSA).

Here’s what you need to know about it.

It’s 100% Effective in Preventing Severe COVID-19

Rejoice, everyone.

Based on a clinical trial conducted in the United States, Mexico and the United Kingdom, the vaccine was found to be 100% effective in preventing severe COVID-19.

Additionally, it’s also 90% effective in preventing symptomatic COVID-19, which is a rather impressive percentage as well.

But hor, it doesn’t mean that you can go around licking surfaces and putting your fingers into your mouth when you’re outside ok.

Nuvaxovid Is Better Than Sinovac

To those who’re ineligible for mRNA vaccines, Nuvaxovid might be something you’d want to look into.

As compared to Sinovac, it is apparently less effective in preventing COVID-19.

The Singapore expert committee echoed this sentiment, explaining that “Nuvaxovid is preferred to Sinovac-Coronavac for persons medically ineligible to receive the mRNA vaccines.

“Sinovac-CoronaVac vaccine should only be used by persons who are medically ineligible for the mRNA vaccines and Nuvaxovid.”

So if you’re looking to take a non-mRNA vaccine, here’s a heads up for you! Don’t say we never tell you ah.

We Don’t Know if It’s More Effective Against Omicron Yet

Ah, the question that looms over all vaccines in general: Is it better at preventing the latest COVID-19 variant?

Unfortunately, research done on the Nuvaxovid vaccine has yet to prove that it’s more effective than other vaccines when pit against the Omicron variant.

This is due to the fact that the Omicron and Delta variants were not available for trial yet when the vaccine was used in Novavax’s clinical trial.

However, the HSA did add on that the vaccine has been showing “constant efficacy” against the Alpha variant, AKA the OG variant of COVID-19. So that’s something to be reassured about.

It Can Be Used as a Booster Shot, But It’s Less Effective

The Nuvaxovid vaccine can be used as a booster shot for those who are at least 18 years old and should be administered at least five months after an individual has completed their primary series vaccination.

However, in a UK clinical trial, the experts noted that even though the Nuvaxovid vaccine produced “a substantial rise in antibody level and cellular response”, it was “to a lower extent when compared to boosting with mRNA vaccines”.

TL;DR: If you can get boosted with Pfizer and Moderna, it might be more effective to stick to those two for now.

mRNA Vaccines > non-mRNA Vaccines

This isn’t exclusive to the Nuvaxovid vaccine, but it’s something worth knowing for everyone.

mRNA vaccines are generally considered to be less effective than mRNA vaccines due to the fact that mRNA vaccines are able to generate a stronger immune response, and they have “higher efficacy” as well, as mentioned by Singapore’s expert committee.

However, the committee also mentioned that Nuvaxovid is still an “acceptable alternative” when it comes to vaccines, especially for those who are ineligible for or allergic to mRNA vaccines.

It’s Safe for Individuals Above 18 Years Old

Just like the Sinovac vaccine, Nuvaxovid has yet to be approved for teenagers and children below the age of 18.

But that might change in a while, so for those of you who have younger family members who are ineligible for mRNA vaccines, take note.

Novavax is currently carrying out a trial on 12 to 17-year-old teenagers to examine its effects on this age group.

Just last week, it announced that the vaccine is around 80% effective in preventing COVID-19 based on a late-stage trial, meaning that it could be approved for teenagers in the coming months.

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It’s Safe for Breastfeeding Mothers

While vaccines and their side effects may be a concern for breastfeeding mothers, it’s not one at all for the Nuvaxovid vaccine.

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), the vaccine is “biologically and clinically unlikely to pose a risk to the breastfeeding child” due to the fact that Nuvaxovid is not a live virus vaccine.

WHO also added that they do not encourage mothers to stop breastfeeding after being vaccinated.

Side Effects Are the Same as the Other Vaccines

For those concerned about whether you’ll be spending the next few days after your vaccine as an unpaid actor of All of Us Are Dead Season Two, you might.

Just like the other vaccines, taking the Nuvaxovid vaccine will probably leave you with common side effects such as muscle aches, headaches and pain near the injection site.

These effects are expected to clear up in a few days after your vaccination though, and apart from that, there are “no significant safety concerns” according to Singapore’s expert committee.

However, those who develop severe allergic reactions to the first dose should not continue with the second. Those who have a history of anaphylaxis shouldn’t take the vaccine either, similar to the guidelines for all the other vaccines that are currently in the market.

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