COVID-19: Health Min. offers non-mRNA vaccine, alt. for Pfizer, Moderna

It has obtained supplies of Nuvaxovid from the Novavax company. It is a vaccine that protects against serious complications of the pandemic without being based on mRNA.

Health Ministry offers non-mRNA COVID-19 vaccine, an alternative for those who couldn’t be protected by Pfizer, Moderna. (photo credit: NOVAVAX)
Health Ministry offers non-mRNA COVID-19 vaccine, an alternative for those who couldn’t be protected by Pfizer, Moderna.
(photo credit: NOVAVAX)

If you haven’t yet gone for even one COVID-19 vaccination because you didn’t want to or couldn’t have an mRNA (messenger RNA) vaccine, the Health Ministry is now offering an alternative.

It has obtained supplies of Nuvaxovid from the Novavax company. The vaccine protects against serious complications of the coronavirus without being based on mRNA, which teaches our cells how to make a protein that will trigger an immune response inside our bodies.

Researchers have been studying and working with mRNA vaccines for decades, but this was the first time such vaccines were given to patients to fight a disease.

How were the other vaccines created?

The vaccines made by Pfizer and other companies that were given in Israel were created with a single-stranded molecule of RNA that corresponds to the genetic sequence of a gene and is read by a ribosome in the process of synthesizing a protein. It is created during the process of transcription, in which an enzyme converts the gene into primary transcript mRNA (also known as pre-mRNA).

This process is known as translation. All of these processes form part of the central principle of molecular biology that describes the flow of genetic information in a biological system.

A woman holds a small bottle labeled with a ''Coronavirus COVID-19 Vaccine'' sticker and a medical syringe in front of displayed Novavax logo in this illustration taken, October 30, 2020. (credit: REUTERS/DADO RUVIC)A woman holds a small bottle labeled with a ''Coronavirus COVID-19 Vaccine'' sticker and a medical syringe in front of displayed Novavax logo in this illustration taken, October 30, 2020. (credit: REUTERS/DADO RUVIC)

The new vaccine was approved by the US Food and Drug Administration and Israel’s Health Ministry as being safe and effective. It is given in two doses, 21 days apart.

The ministry said that theoretically, if one got only two mRNA shots in the past and wants a booster, the new type can be given. A decision on whether to oblige such individuals will be taken soon, the ministry said.