COVID-19 vaccines

Philippines approves Novavax COVID-19 vaccine for emergency use

Bonz Magsambol

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Philippines approves Novavax COVID-19 vaccine for emergency use

NOVAVAX. Vials with a sticker reading, "COVID-19/ Coronavirus vaccine / Injection only" and a medical syringe are seen in front of a displayed Novavax logo in this illustration taken October 31, 2020.

Dado Ruvic/Reuters

'The brand name here is Covovax,' says FDA chief Eric Domingo

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued an emergency use authorization (EUA) for Novavax’s COVID-19 vaccine, providing another vaccine option for pandemic-hit Philippines.

FDA chief Eric Domingo made the announcement in press briefing aired on state-run PTV4 on Wednesday, November 17.

He also confirmed this to Rappler in a text message on Thursday night, November 18. “The brand name here is Covovax,” he said.

Domingo said that the vaccine is administered in two doses with a three- to four-week interval. It was approved for use on adults 18 and above.

The Novavax COVID-19 vaccine is the ninth vaccine to become available for Philippine use.

Novavax earlier claimed that its protein-based vaccine was more than 93% effective against the more easily transmissible predominant coronavirus variants, such as Alpha, Beta, and Gamma, that have caused concern among scientists and public health officials.

Protein-based vaccines are a conventional approach that use purified pieces of the virus to spur an immune response, such as those used against whooping cough and shingles.

The vaccine was 91% effective among volunteers at high risk of severe infection and 100% effective in preventing moderate and severe cases of COVID-19. It was roughly 70% effective against virus variants that Novavax was unable to identify, its head of research and development, Dr. Gregory Glenn said.

Novavax said a single booster shot of its vaccine given six months after an initial two-dose regimen, elicited a 4.6-fold increase in antibodies.

The country earlier cleared the vaccines of Pfizer and BioNTech, AstraZeneca, Sinovac, Gamaleya Research Institute, J&J, Bharat Biotech, Sinopharm, and Moderna for emergency use in the country. – With reports from Reuters/

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Bonz Magsambol

Bonz Magsambol covers the Philippine Senate for Rappler.