Updated Novavax COVID-19 shot approved by Health Canada

Click to play video: 'COVID-19: Subvariant HV.1 now makes up 3rd of reported cases in Canada'
COVID-19: Subvariant HV.1 now makes up 3rd of reported cases in Canada
WATCH: The new COVID-19 subvariant HV.1 is gaining traction across Canada, making up one-third of reported cases as of the end of October – Nov 15, 2023

Amidst the onset of respiratory illnesses this flu season, Canada has fortified its defences against the persistent threat of COVID-19 with the approval of another vaccine.

Health Canada on Tuesday approved the updated Novavax vaccine, marking the third updated booster available to Canadians alongside those from Pfizer and Moderna.

Nuvaxovid XBB.1.5 has been authorized for people ages 12 and older and is designed to protect against Omicron XBB.1.5 subvariants. It may be given to people who have been previously vaccinated or who have not previously had a shot, Health Canada said.

The National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) has not yet deliberated on its use.

Click to play video: 'Canada’s top doctors say unvaccinated, those without booster could benefit from Novavax vaccine'
Canada’s top doctors say unvaccinated, those without booster could benefit from Novavax vaccine

The updated vaccine stands apart from other COVID-19 shots, as it’s protein-based and does not use mRNA technology. These vaccines contain a modified version of the spike protein itself, unlike mRNA vaccines that have molecular manufacturing instructions for the body to make the spike protein.

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Only one dose of the updated vaccine is needed for those Canadians who have already had their primary series, according to Health Canada. However, if you have previously not been vaccinated, you will need two doses of the primary series.

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The approval comes months after Health Canada gave the green light to Moderna’s updated COVID-19 vaccine on Sept. 12 and Pfizer’s on Sept. 28.

Reported COVID-19 cases continue to vary across the provinces and territories, according to Health Canada. However, the health agency said there have been gradual declines in weekly COVID-19 deaths since mid-October, with some fluctuations observed in recent weeks.

Recombinant XBB sub-lineages continue to be dominant, representing 93 per cent of sequences in the past month.

The subvariant, HV.1 makes up for 44 per cent of all reported COVID-19 cases as of Nov. 26, followed by HK.3 and EG.5.1.

The current guidelines provided by the National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI), say beginning in the fall of 2023, it recommends a dose of the XBB.1.5-containing formulation of COVID-19 vaccine for individuals in the authorized age group if it has been at least six months from the previous shot or known SARS-CoV-2 infection (whichever is later).

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