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Switzerland approves Novavax’s Covid vaccine for 12-18 year olds

Swiss medical regulator Swissmedic has approved Novavax’s Nuvaxovid Covid-19 vaccine for children aged 12-18 years. The greenlight has also been given for its use as a booster for adults, ahead of an anticipated rise in infections this winter.

“Nuvaxovid, the Covid-19 vaccine from Novavax, is now approved for young people aged 12 and over with immediate effect,” Swissmedic said in a statementExternal link on Friday.

The approval is for the vaccine’s two-dose series of 50ml per dose, Swissmedic said. These are administered at an interval of three weeks, it added.

The Swiss medical regulator had approvedExternal link the protein-based Nuvaxovid vaccine for adults in April, making it the fourth Covid-19 vaccine authorised in the country. The others are mRNA vaccines from Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna and a viral vector vaccine from Johnson & Johnson.
According to Swissmedic, the Nuvaxovid vaccine contains a non-infectious component from the surface of the SaRS-CoV-2 virus, which triggers a protective immune response when the body’s immune cells come into contact with it. The vaccine contains an adjuvant to strengthen the immune response. It can be stored in a refrigerator for up to nine months.

It made its debut well after the first set of Covid-19 shots – including those from Moderna, Pfizer/BioNTech, AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson – were approved in different parts of the world.

The hope was Nuvaxovid would incentivise people who were sceptical of some shots based on the newer mRNA technology to get vaccinated, given Nuvaxovid relies on technology that has been used for decades to combat diseases including hepatitis B and influenza. However, demand has been tepid.