New protein-based vaccine awaits approval, brings fresh hope

Novavax’s protein vaccine. Courtesy of Novavax

Doctors say a new protein-based vaccine on the verge of FDA approval will be a huge help in the fight against COVID-19.

It’s also different from the other COVID-19 vaccines out right now because it’s easier to store, which is the main reason health experts believe it will be a game-changer if it gets FDA approval. Current vaccines like those from Pfizer and Moderna have to be stored in high-volume freezers, which even in Florida exist in limited quantities. This vaccine from Novavax would not, so health experts sayit will be useful to add it to their toolbox.

In addition, based on Novavax trials worldwide, the side effects are minimal and it has a 90% efficacy rate against mild, moderate and severe disease.

“This takes a recombinant spike protein; it actually takes part of COVID-19,” said Dr. David Lindner, medical director of NCH’s COVID-19 response team. “And then that is what is administered and your body then makes immunity because it recognizes the spike protein as COVID-19… it’s stable. It has easy storage requirements up to six months at just a refrigerated temperature. And it’s well suited for deployment.”

If approved, Novavax would be an option for people 18 or older. Some health experts think offering this vaccine as an option may persuade some vaccine holdouts on getting one, and not just because it’s protein-based.

One woman in downtown Fort Myers, Sarai Soto, told WINK News she was unvaccinated (describing herself as more “homeopathic and natural”) because she didn’t trust what was in the current vaccines out right now, but says she would be interested in potentially getting this protein-based one, becoming on of the more than 200 million Americans who have been vaccinated against the pandemic.

“Yeah, if it’s something that would benefit me, absolutely,” Soto said.

“For many people, I think that this vaccine may basically answer some of the questions that they had in regards to some of the other vaccines,” Lindner said.

Lindner acknowledged that for some Americans there isn’t any vaccine that they would consider safe, so he doesn’t think this vaccine would change their minds. Some other people in downtown Fort Myers say they agree but believe adding this vaccine to the current available slate would be beneficial.

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