A new Covid-19 vaccine has been created by US pharmaceutical firm Novavax, and is the fourth vaccine to have been approved in the UK.
The Pfizer/BioNTech and Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccines are already being distributed, while the Moderna vaccine has also been approved.
The UK has ordered 60 million vials of the Novavax vaccine, which will be included in the vaccination rollout programme.
Here, we explain what nurses and carers need to know about the Novavax vaccine and how you will be able to access it.
How does the Novavax vaccine work?
The Novavax vaccine differs from those already being used in the UK.
It combines an engineered protein from the virus that causes COVID-19, with a plant-based ingredient to help generate a stronger immune response.
You will be given two doses of the vaccine, three weeks apart.
If you encounter Covid-19 after having the Novavax vaccine, the body will be able to fend off infection.
How effective is the new Novavax vaccine?
The Novavax vaccine has shown to be 95.6% effective against the original strain of coronavirus, and 85.6% effective against the variant first detected in the UK.
The study involved more than 15,000 participants aged 18 to 84, with 27% aged over 65.
Does it work against the new South African Covid-19 variant?
An early stage study was carried out on 4,400 people in South Africa, including some volunteers with HIV.
Among the HIV-negative volunteers, the vaccine appears to be 60% effective. When immune-compromised volunteers are included, the vaccine offered 49% protection overall.
Novavax plans to immediately start development on a vaccine specifically targeted to the South African variant.
How is the Novavax vaccine stored?
The Novavax vaccine, called NVX-CoV2373, only needs to be stored at fridge temperatures - much like the AstraZeneca and Moderna vaccines.
It is easier to store and distribute than the Pfizer vaccine, which has to be stored at the much lower temperature of -70C.
When will you be able to access the Novavax vaccine?
The Novavax vaccine is currently in Phase 3 of clinical trials in the UK, and is expected to be delivered in the second half of this year if approved for use by the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA).
How to get a Covid-19 vaccination
Here are the different ways in which you can receive a Covid-19 vaccine if you are a nurse or carer.
Get the vaccine via a care home
Being aligned to a home is the quickest way to access the vaccine.
If you are regularly working at a care home already, let them know you should be included in their plans for immunisation.
If you are not regularly working at a care home, try to book more than one shift at the same place, so you can create an alignment with the home.
As well as using Florence to find shifts near you, you could ask your account manager about block booking and exclusive contract opportunities at nearby homes. Call them on 020 3911 2555 or email [email protected] to talk further about this.
Get the vaccine via your GP
You may, alternatively, be able to access the vaccine via your GP - give their office a call to check if they have news on when it will be available.
The vaccine will be given via:
- Hospital hubs for NHS and care staff, and older patients.
- Local community services with local teams and GPs.
- Vaccination centres, ensuring people can access a vaccine regardless of where they live
With this in mind, speak to your GP about what will be available in your area.
Florence letter of employment
When receiving the vaccine, you may be required to show proof of your role as a frontline care worker.
Here to help
We’re always here to provide the latest guidance and help you find work in your area - if you have any questions at all, please get in touch. Simply speak to your account manager directly, call us on 020 3911 2555 or email [email protected], and we’ll do our best to help you.
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