Some Covid vaccines may be better suited for certain age groups, Novavax scientist says


ome Covid vaccines may be “better suited” for certain age groups or for use as booster jabs, a scientist working on the Novavax trial said today.

Professor Paul Heath, Novavax trial chief investigator, said the broad range of jabs being used to help fight the pandemic would help leaders “refine the vaccine programme”.

He said in time some vaccines might turn out to be “better suited” to certain age groups while others might be more appropriate for booster doses.

The scientist made the comments when asked on Sky News why it was important to have lots of different vaccines.

Professor Heath said: “Obviously because there are so many people that need to be vaccinated so we need to have a huge supply of vaccine in order to fully vaccinate our population so that I think is the basic reason.

“There are other things that may be shown between the different vaccines ultimately.

“So it may be shown for example that certain vaccines are more appropriate for certain groups for the elderly, for those with underlying health problems and so on.

“I think in time it may be that we define different groups for different vaccines.”

Professor Heath, who is also director of the Vaccine Institute at St George’s, University of London, added: “We are for example contemplating vaccinating adolescents and children, we are contemplating and indeed vaccinating pregnant women and it may be that studies will show that certain vaccines are perhaps better suited to different groups.

“So to have this range of vaccines using a range of different technologies available allows us to ultimately refine the vaccine programme.

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“The next bit of course will be the booster doses.

“We’ve already heard over the weekend a proposal that booster doses will be considered and implemented potentially later this year and it may be that different vaccines are better suited to be booster doses.

“So again having a whole range of different vaccines using different vaccine technologies allows us to refine the programme that we have at the moment.”

It comes after the Government agreed a deal with pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) on the manufacture of up to 60 million doses of the Novavax coronavirus vaccine.

The doses will undergo their “fill and finish” stage at a facility in Barnard Castle in the North East of England beginning as early as May. That is the completion stage of vaccine manufacturing in which vials are prepared and packaged for distribution.

The company said it is 86 per cent effective against the Kent variant and 96 per cent effective in preventing cases caused by the original strain of the coronavirus.

The jab also offers 100 per cent protection against severe disease, including all hospital admission and death, according to results of phase three trial in the UK.

The new vaccine is just now waiting for approval from the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA).

Boris Johnson said that the deal between GSK, Novavax and the UK Government vaccines taskforce will “further boost our vaccine rollout”.

He added: “The vaccines taskforce has worked hand in glove with business to successfully deliver vaccines to the whole of the UK and this agreement will continue to support our approach.

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“We remain on track to offer a first jab to all over-50s by April 15, and all adults by the end of July, and I want to once again encourage everyone to come forward for a vaccine when you’re called.”


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