Novavax has asked EU regulators to clean up the COVID vaccine for adolescents

Pharmaceutical developer NovaVax says it has asked the European Medicines Agency to increase its approval of its coronavirus vaccine for children aged 12 to 17 in the face of an increase in disease across the continent.

In a statement on Thursday, NovaVax said its request was based on data from a study of more than 2,200 adolescents aged 12 to 17 in the United States who found its vaccine to be about 80% effective against COVID-19. The study was conducted when the Delta variant was the main virus in the United States, with the reported major side effects being pain, headache, and fatigue at the injection site.

The Novavax vaccine relies on an older technology that has been used for many years to make shot shots for diseases such as influenza and pertussis. The Maryland-based Novavax drug maker uses genetic engineering to replicate coronavirus spike proteins in insect cells. Scientists then extract and purify the protein and then mix an immune-boosting chemical.

Novavax has repeatedly suffered production problems and relies heavily on other factories to make its vaccines. It has delayed delivering its shots to numerous European countries, and despite its promise to provide 250 million doses to COVAX, not a single vaccine has been shared with UN-backed efforts to distribute shots in poor countries.

According to the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control, more than half of adolescents in the European Union have not yet been fully vaccinated against COVID-19. Numerous countries across the continent have recently jumped into coronavirus cases, largely due to the proliferation of the highly contagious Omicron subvariant BA.2 and the relaxation of almost all COVID-19 protocols.

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