Novavax starts shipping COVID vaccine to EU states

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Vials labelled "VACCINE Coronavirus COVID-19" and a syringe are seen in front of a displayed Novavax logo in this illustration taken December 11, 2021. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration

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Feb 23 (Reuters) - Novavax Inc (NVAX.O) said on Wednesday it had started shipping doses of its COVID-19 vaccine to European Union member states, with France, Austria and Germany expected to be the first to receive the shots in the coming days.

Shipments of Nuvaxovid to additional EU member states from the company's Netherlands distribution center are expected to quickly follow, adding to the stockpile of the region as it struggles with a surge in infections due to the Omicron variant.

Novavax's recombinant protein vaccine uses a more established technology than mRNA, the novel method behind the two most commonly used COVID-19 vaccines made by Pfizer (PFE.N)/BioNTech and Moderna (MRNA.O).

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The initial doses of Nuvaxovid were manufactured by Novavax' partner the Serum Institute of India, company said.

Public health leaders have voiced hopes that Novavax's product could convince as-yet unvaccinated people who are sceptical about the novel mRNA technology to get a shot.

"Today's announcement paves the way for vaccination with Nuvaxovid to begin in Europe within the coming days. The Novavax COVID-19 vaccine provides a differentiated option to bolster vaccination rates across Europe," Chief Executive Officer Stanley Erck said.

The European Union authorized the use of Novavax's vaccine in people 18 years and older in December and has ordered 27 million doses for the first quarter of this year, as part of a contract for 100 million vaccines and another 100 million optional.

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Reporting by Mrinalika Roy in Bengaluru; Editing by Shailesh Kuber

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