(Corrects typo in spelling of Nuvaxovid in fourth paragraph)
(Reuters) – Canada on Thursday approved Novavax Inc’s COVID-19 vaccine for people aged 18 years and older, making it the fifth such shot to be cleared for use in the country.
The vaccine’s safety and effectiveness in people younger than 18 years have not yet been established, Health Canada said in a statement.
Canada has committed to purchase 52 million doses of the vaccine, with an option to buy up to 24 million doses more.
Novavax’s recombinant protein vaccine, Nuvaxovid, uses a more established technology than mRNA, the novel method behind the two most commonly used COVID-19 vaccines – from Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna.
Some experts have voiced hopes that Novavax’s product could convince as-yet unvaccinated people who are sceptical about the novel mRNA technology to get a shot.
On Wednesday, Novavax Chief Commercial Officer John Trizzino said there is still significant demand for vaccination across the globe, especially in light of Omicron, the threat of more variants and a high percentage of unvaccinated people who need primary vaccination.
“We also know that many of the booster programs that are in process right now will drive demand for our product.”
However, the company has been plagued by supply and manufacturing issues as well as regulatory delays.
It has delivered just a small fraction of the 2 billion COVID-19 shots it plans to supply worldwide in 2022, after delaying first-quarter shipments in Europe and some lower income countries.
The company expects to supply 27 million doses of its vaccine to Europe in the first quarter, but did not provide guidance on how many overall doses it plans to ship during the period.
Novavax’s protein-based vaccine is being reviewed by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and has received approvals from the European Union and the World Health Organization.
(Reporting by Mrinalika Roy in Bengaluru; Editing by Devika Syamnath)