TEMOIGNAGE. Covid-19 : le parcours du combattant des candidats au vaccin Novavax, encore difficile d’accès

TEMOIGNAGE. Covid-19 : le parcours du combattant des candidats au vaccin Novavax, encore difficile d’accès

the essential
A number of vaccine candidates refuse products that use so-called messenger RNA technology. The arrival in France in February of Nuvaxovid, a recombinant protein vaccine, was to reshuffle the cards. In the field, however, access to this vaccine remains difficult for many patients.

In her words, she went through a real “obstacle course”. Brigitte*, 70, was eagerly awaiting the Nuvaxovid vaccine (from the American laboratory Novavax). Pfizer, Moderna… This resident of Saint-Juéry, in the Tarn, does not want it. She refuses any vaccine that works with messenger RNA. “I have been fighting against shingles for almost 17 years, and I suspect this technology of reactivating the disease,” explains the septuagenarian.

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Brigitte was therefore impatiently awaiting the release of new recombinant protein vaccines: a more traditional technology which consists of injecting a protein specific to the virus (the Spike protein) into the cells of the body to stimulate the immune system. The first protein vaccine did not arrive in France until the end of February: “Unfortunately, the first doses were distributed as a priority in the overseas departments, refractory to RNA vaccines, to encourage the population to get vaccinated,” says Brigitte.

A vaccine missing from pharmacies?

The Tarnaise takes his troubles patiently, and makes an appointment on March 12 in one of the five vaccination centers for his first dose. A few days later, the vaccination centers close their doors one by one. His second, Brigitte is trying to get it from a pharmacist: “None offered Novavax”, laments the Tarnaise. Is the protein vaccine therefore inaccessible in pharmacies?

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“We have only too few requests for this vaccine”, explains to La Dépêche du Midi the president of the Federation of Pharmaceutical Unions of France (FSPF) Philippe Besset. “If we open a vial of 10 doses of vaccine for one person, we throw away nine. It’s annoying and it could cost society dearly, ”continues the pharmacist who works in Limoux (Aude). On April 8, after having been forced to cancel a series of appointments, Brigitte was finally invited to go to the only vaccination center still open in the Tarn, 60 kilometers from her home. “I regret the lack of communication on the closure of vaccination centers and on these new vaccines,” laments the septuagenarian.

His obstacle course does not stop there. In a few months, the Tarnaise will be required to carry out a booster injection. Problem: only vaccines using messenger RNA technology are authorized as a “third dose”: “If I have to have a booster vaccine in the next few months, I will go through a recombinant protein vaccine anyway , maintains Brigitte. I did not wait so many months to finally retract on a vaccine that I refuse. »

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For his part, the president of the Strategic Orientation Council for Vaccination affirms that the Novavax laboratory must still provide a certain number of documents attesting to the effectiveness of its vaccine in the context of a vaccine recall: “This should be done within the coming weeks,” says the professor.

Where to get vaccinated with Nuvaxovid?

Nuvaxovid, without messenger RNA, is the 5th vaccine to be authorized in France. The Novavax vaccine is available in several vaccination centers in mainland France. Occitania has already ordered nearly 42,000 doses and it is possible to receive an injection in the various hospitals and vaccination centers of the metropolises of the region, according to the URPS of Occitanie. In town, you must contact a health professional directly to find out if it is possible to order this vaccine.

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