In a press release issued on August 19, 2022, Novavax, Inc., announced that the Novavax COVID-19 Vaccine, Adjuvanted (NVX-CoV2373), received expanded Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) from the FDA to provide a two-dose primary series for active immunization to prevent COVID-19 caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) in adolescents aged 12 through 17. Novavax is the first protein-based COVID-19 vaccine authorized in the United States.

The EUA decision granted by the FDA was based on data from the ongoing pediatric expansion of the phase III PREVENT-19 trial of 2,247 adolescents aged 12 through 17 years across 75 sites in the U.S. to evaluate the safety and effectiveness of the Novavax COVID-19 Vaccine, Adjuvanted.

In pediatric expansion, the vaccine achieved its primary efficacy endpoint with clinical efficacy of 78.29% (95% CI: 37.55%, 92.45%) overall at a time when the Delta variant was the predominantly circulating SARS-CoV-2 strain in the U.S. The efficacy analysis was supported by assessment of antibody titers that were revealed to be higher in adolescents than in young adults.

Safety data from the pediatric expansion showed the vaccine to be generally well-tolerated. Serious and severe adverse reactions (ARs) were low in number and balanced between vaccine and placebo groups, and they were not considered related to the vaccine. Local and systemic reactogenicity was usually lower than or comparable with adults after the first and second dose. No new safety signal was observed through the placebo-controlled portion of the study.

Among participants aged 12 through 17 years, solicited ARs following administration of any dose of the Novavax COVID-19 Vaccine, Adjuvanted were injection-site pain/tenderness (75.0%), headache (56.9%), fatigue/malaise (57.9%), muscle pain (49.0%), nausea/vomiting (19.9%), joint pain (16.2%), fever (16.9%), injection-site swelling (8.0%), and injection-site redness (7.5%). Most were mild-to-moderate in severity and lasted fewer than 2 days.

The next step for the vaccine is a policy recommendation for use from the CDC. Doses of the Novavax COVID-19 Vaccine, Adjuvanted are available for use in adolescents upon the CDC's recommendation.

In July 2022, the FDA granted EUA for a two-dose primary series in adults aged 18 years and older, followed by a recommendation from the CDC Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, and endorsement from the CDC.

Stanley C. Erck, president and CEO, Novavax, stated, “Having more vaccine options for use in both adults and adolescents, like the Novavax COVID-19 Vaccine, Adjuvanted will hopefully help increase vaccination rates, particularly as we prepare for ongoing surges of COVID-19 with the start of fall and the back-to-school season. We hope that our vaccine, developed using an innovative approach to recombinant protein vaccine technology, may have a special role in adolescent vaccination based on parents’ and caregivers’ familiarity with protein-based vaccines used in other disease areas.”

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