Covid-19 vaccines For Members

When will the Novavax vaccine be available in Austria?

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2 Mar, 2022 Updated Wed 2 Mar 2022 15:41 CEST
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Novavax vaccine vials. Photo: JUSTIN TALLIS / AFP

Novavax is the first 'inactivated vaccine' for Covid to be approved in the EU. When will it be approved - and administered - in Austria?


Vaccinations against Covid-19 with the Novavax jab began in late February, Austria’s Ministry of Health confirmed.

The first were carried out in Upper Austria and Tyrol on Sunday, February 27th, followed by Vienna on March 1st. 

Lower Austria will begin Novavax shots on March 7th 

Currently, more than 31,300 Austrians have registered for a vaccination with Novavax.

Austria has ordered 750,000 doses of the vaccine for the first quarter of 2022.

It is hoped some people who currently refuse to be vaccinated may be persuaded to with the new vaccine, which is a protein subunit vaccine, using different technology to the mRNA and vector vaccines previously approved in the EU.

The process used to produce Novavax is therefore closer to traditional vaccines, which may encourage those sceptical of mRNA or Vector technology. 

Two doses of Novavax, injected about three weeks apart gives 90 percent protection against symptomatic infection, according to the EU Medicines Agency (EMA). 

What is an inactivated vaccine? 

The Novavax vaccine is the first ‘inactivated vaccine’ to be given EU approval. 

Inactivated vaccines are known in German under the scary Totimpfstoff (dead vaccine) moniker.

Inactivated vaccines are the best known examples of vaccines and have been administered for centuries. 

Inactivated vaccines use dead particles of a disease or pathogen.

When administered, the recipient will generate antibodies to the disease but will not contract it, due to the fact the particles are dead. 

Why is this important? 

The four vaccines administered in Austria since the start of the pandemic – Moderna, Pfizer/Biontech, AstraZeneca and Johnson and Johnson – all use different technology. 

Both Moderna and Pfizer/Biontech use mRNA technology, while Johnson and Johnson and the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine use vector technology. 

While both of these technologies have been shown to be safe, authorities believe some vaccine holdouts have indicated a reluctance to embrace newer technologies and would prefer to receive a Covid vaccine using technology which they are familiar with. 

A survey in neighbouring Germany showed that 56 percent of unvaccinated people would be more willing to vaccinate with an inactivated vaccine, should one become available. 

The Novavax jab can also be stored at usual refrigerator temperatures, meaning that it is more portable for rural areas and for countries with poorer vaccine infrastructure. 


Is the vaccine effective? 

Studies show the vaccine had an effectiveness rate of 90 percent against symptomatic infections and produced only mild side effects. 

Carsten Watzl, Secretary General of the German Society for Immunology noted however that as with all vaccine types, there are some doubts as to its effectiveness against the Omicron variant. 

Another vaccine using similar technology, CoronaVac, was shown to have lower effectiveness against Omicron in trials in Hong Kong. 

Novavax have said they would alter the vaccine to have a greater effectiveness against Omicron from January. 

As with the other Covid vaccines besides Johnson and Johnson, two doses of Novavax are necessary to achieve full protection. 



2022/03/02 15:41

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