Novavax COVID-19 Vaccine: 1.2% Absolute Risk Reduction

Note that views expressed in this opinion article are the writer’s personal views and not necessarily those of Dr. Ron Brown – Opinion Editorial

January 12, 2022

Getting tired of those old mRNA COVID-19 vaccines? The good news is that Novavax has published the final phase 3 trial results for its latest alternative to mRNA COVID-19 vaccines: Safety and Efficacy of NVX-CoV2373 Covid-19 Vaccine. The technology of the vaccine is reported to use a premade spike protein constructed from moth cells: FDA Could Authorize Novavax COVID Vaccine. However, despite reporting an overall 89.7% vaccine efficacy (relative risk reduction, RRR) for their new NVX-CoV2373 vaccine, the bad news is that the Novavax vaccine’s unreported absolute risk reduction (ARR) is within the same range as the old mRNA COVID-19 vaccines—1.2%. That means, to prevent one infection, 81 people need to be vaccinated (number needed to vaccinate, NNV, or the reciprocal of the ARR, 1/ARR).

It’s a good bet that none of these unreported numbers will be brought to the attention of the Food and Drug Administration advisory committee that is expected to authorize the vaccine for emergency use in February, 20...

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