The safety and efficacy studies conducted for the Novavax protein-based vaccine show a good level of protection against COVID-19 infection of about 90% in all age groups. This efficacy is comparable with that of the mRNA vaccines. The studies also showed that the vaccine provides protection against severe disease. Trials are currently being conducted looking at how effective the vaccine is against severe disease.
For the virus variants to date, we know that the Novavax protein vaccine provides effective protection against severe COVID-19 illness requiring hospitalisation. But as with other vaccines, the protection wears off over time, particularly in those at especially high risk. The Novavax protein vaccine can at least temporarily improve immune protection against severe illness, particularly in these people. The vaccination in autumn only provides minimal and short-term protection against infections with mild illness. Very little can be done to prevent transmission of the virus to others.
The vaccine has a good safety profile. People may experience mild reactions after receiving the vaccine but they are usually short lived and are similar to the reactions after receiving other COVID-19 vaccines. There was no indication of serious side effects in the authorisation studies. However, too few people overall took part in the studies to be able to observe any very rare side effects. Experts are closely monitoring potential side effects. Data from the authorities and manufacturer will continue to be collected and the safety and efficacy of the vaccine will be monitored on an ongoing basis. A vaccine has to meet stringent requirements in terms of safety, efficacy and quality to be authorised. In Switzerland, Swissmedic is responsible for authorisation and decides whether a vaccine is authorised for use. If Swissmedic is able to verify the efficacy, safety and quality of a vaccine, it grants market authorisation for Switzerland. In the case of the Novavax protein-based vaccine, these criteria were met. Swissmedic authorised the vaccine on 13.04.2022.