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Health Canada approves updated Novavax vaccine to protect against COVID-19

Health Canada has authorized an adapted vaccine from Novavax to prevent COVID-19 in people age 12 and older.

Novavax’s product — Nuvaxovid XBB.1.5 Omicron subvariant COVID-19 vaccine — uses a more traditional approach to defend the body against severe infection, hospitalization and death.

It is also authorized as a booster for those 18 and older, according to Health Canada’s webpage.

Novavax said it expects to have doses available across the country. 

Novavax’s first vaccine to protect against COVID-19, known as Nuvaxovid, was authorized for use in Canadians 18 and over by Health Canada in February 2022.

Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna’s mRNA vaccines have also been updated to target XBB.1.5 and are approved for use in Canada, including in kids under 12. 

WATCH | Hospitals prepare for rising flu and RSV levels: 

Brace for another big cold and flu season, experts say

Canadian doctors are bracing for what could be another busy cold and flu season as cases of RSV and influenza are on the rise while COVID-19 continues to circulate.

Vaccines train our immune system to recognize and then fight off a viral intruder.  

Novavax’s vaccine delivers lab-grown copies of the spike protein that the coronavirus uses to bind to cells and cause infection. Some vaccines against the flu and hepatitis B use the same approach. 

The mRNA vaccines include genetic instructions for the body to make a piece of the spike protein so our immune system recognizes it as foreign and learns to destroy it. 

In general, Canada’s advisory committee suggests waiting around six months after your last vaccination or infection to get the latest COVID vaccine.

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The announcement comes as the federal government reported about 4,600 hospital beds across the country were filled with patients that have COVID-19, which is about the level seen this January. Bed occupancy peaked at more than 10,000 in January 2022. 

The annual influenza season has officially started across Canada with levels of flu and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) rising during this time of year.  

It is not too late to get vaccinated against flu, say provincial health officials encouraging people to protect themselves from several respiratory viruses that could peak over the holiday season. 

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