FDA Advisers To Consider More ‘Traditional’ Covid Shot From Novavax
A federal advisory committee will meet today to discuss authorization of the U.S.'s fourth covid vaccine. News outlets examine whether this more old-fashioned vaccine tech will tempt some hold-outs. Covid booster shots, vaccination data privacy, and more are also reported.
The New York Times:
F.D.A. Advisers Will Weigh In On Covid Shots By Novavax, A Latecomer In The Vaccine Race
A federal advisory committee on Tuesday will vote on whether regulators should authorize a Covid-19 vaccine made by Novavax, an early beneficiary of the government’s Operation Warp Speed program. The experts to the Food and Drug Administration, whose meeting is scheduled to begin at 8:30 a.m. Eastern, will base their recommendation on the company’s clinical trial data, which is strong. But before the agency could authorize the shots, the F.D.A. would also need to sign off on Novavax’s manufacturing process, which has stumbled again and again over the course of two years. (Zimmer and Robbins, 6/7)
Novavax COVID-19 Vaccine To Be Considered By FDA Panel As 4th In US
"There's a lot of reasons that are not scientifically based for not having taken the vaccine (yet)," said Vivian Riefberg, a professor at the Darden School of Business at the University of Virginia. "This may convince some people because it's traditional technology." The Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech shots, which have been given to three-quarters of the American population, are based on mRNA technology, which teaches the body to make the spike protein found on the surface of the coronavirus that causes COVID-19. Once the immune system recognizes the spike protein, it will attack the viral cells. (Weintraub, 6/7)
Bay Area News Group:
Can New Novavax COVID Vaccine Win Over The Anti-Vaxxers?
With three COVID vaccines already authorized by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, Americans have easy access to plenty of shots. But a fourth one, under review Tuesday, is entirely different — and uses a traditional vaccine design that more people may be inclined to trust. The vaccine, made by Novavax, works just as well as the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, the company’s studies show. Its side effects seem milder. It’s easier to store. At least 41 other countries — including Australia, Canada, South Korea and the 27 members of the European Union — have approved it. And it enlists the same familiar technique as vaccines against flu, diphtheria, tetanus and whooping cough. (Krieger, 6/6)
In other vaccine news —
The Boston Globe:
Omicron Booster Shots Are Taking Longer Than Expected. Will The Wait Be Worth It?
Pfizer and Moderna did not grant interviews, but vaccine scientists ticked off several reasons for the delay. To start, the virus keeps changing too quickly. There’s also conflicting data on the superiority of variant-specific boosters over what’s already available, casting doubt on their value. And with the majority of Americans yet to get even their first booster shot, the companies’ financial incentive for making new ones has diminished. It took Pfizer and Moderna just over 300 days to go from the genetic sequence of SARS-CoV-2 to earning emergency authorization of their shots from the FDA — crushing Merck’s previous record of developing a mumps vaccine in four years. Some experts believe the 100-day turnaround time for updated vaccines could be possible under some circumstances. Apparently it was too ambitious in this case. (Cross, 6/6)
Kansas City Star:
How Long Do COVID Booster Shots Last? Should You Get Another?
COVID-19 hospitalizations are stagnating in Kansas City, indicating that the metro may be reaching a plateau in its latest wave of the virus. Doctors at The University of Kansas Health System noted Friday that new omicron subvariants have largely taken over in the area. This trend, along with recent CDC data showing that people who received a booster shot have been catching the virus at a higher rate than those who did not, has led to some confusion around the purpose and effectiveness of boosters. (Wallington, 6/7)
NY Governor Urged To Support Bill Protecting Vaccine Privacy
Privacy advocates are urging New York Gov. Kathy Hochul to affix her signature on a bill that would protect sensitive information gathered from people being vaccinated against COVID-19. Advocates say the unfettered sharing of information could be misused by a raft of entities, including law enforcement who the New York Civil Liberties Union suggests could use that data in criminal proceedings. (Calvan, 6/4)
The Washington Post:
D.C. Tries To Improve Low Compliance Rate For Routine Youth Vaccines
District officials launched a campaign Monday that will allow children to more easily get their routine vaccines this summer at recreation centers, school-based health centers, and mobile vaccination sites in neighborhoods across the city. City officials said they will use covid-19 contact-tracing teams to contact families, hoping to increase a youth vaccination compliance rate that has plummeted during the pandemic. (Stein, 6/6)
In updates on Paxlovid —
Crain's Detroit Business:
Pfizer To Make COVID-19 Pill Ingredients In Michigan
Pharmaceutical giant Pfizer Inc. announced Monday it would invest $250 million into its 1,300-acre operations center in West Michigan to produce ingredients for its COVID-19 antiviral pill Paxlovid. The facility in Portage, just south of Kalamazoo, will be the company's only U.S. facility making medicinal ingredients in the pills. The investment will create 250 jobs at the plant, Pfizer said in a news release. The timeline for the investment is unclear. Paxlovid, which received an emergency use authorization from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in December, is a prescription drug therapy designed for use in mild or moderate cases of the deadly coronavirus. (Walsh, 6/6)
Detroit Free Press:
Whitmer Hails Pfizer's $120M Plan To Make Paxlovid In Michigan
Wearing a "Science Will Win" T-shirt beneath her navy blue blazer, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer hailed the announcement Monday that Pfizer is adding 250 more jobs and will invest $120 million in its Kalamazoo County manufacturing facility as "one more step in our battle to beat back COVID-19 and keep people safe and healthy." The company's Portage factory will be the only site in the U.S. to manufacture the ingredients it uses to make the COVID-19 antiviral pill Paxlovid. (Jordan Shamus, 6/6)