Processing Your Payment

Please do not leave this page until complete. This can take a few moments.

March 9, 2022

Yale doc: New COVID vaccines in pipeline may sway hesitant

Photo | PIxabay

New vaccines in development against the COVID-19 virus may appeal to those who have been resistant to getting the shot, according to a Yale health official.

In late January, Novavax Inc. submitted a request to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in a bid to get its COVID-19 vaccine approved for emergency use authorization. The Maryland-based biotech says its vaccine demonstrated approximately 90% efficacy in two clinical trials. Its vaccine is protein-based, engineered from the genetic sequence of the virus’ first strain, and designed to be given via a two-dose regimen, according to the company.

In late February, France-based Sanofi and U.K.-based GSK announced they would be seeking regulatory approval for their COVID-19 vaccine, which is also protein-based and administered via two doses. The companies reported that trials showed the vaccine provided 100% protection against severe disease and hospitalizations.

Roger Connor, president of GSK Vaccines, said its protein-based vaccine candidate uses a “well-established approach” that has been widely applied to prevent illness from other viruses such as the flu.

Some individuals who have avoided getting vaccinated have voiced concerns about the vaccines currently on the market which use messenger RNA, or mRNA, to teach cells to create an immune response to the virus to prevent illness.

Dr. Thomas Balcezak, executive vice president and chief clinical officer with Yale New Haven Health, has said the mRNA-style vaccines are safe.

He noted that some people have been hesitant to get those vaccines, however, due to the newer technology.

“The protein-based vaccines are in the pipeline, and we anticipate they will get emergency use authorization soon,” Balcezak said, in a Tuesday afternoon press briefing. “This may sway people who have been hesitant, because this (protein-based) technology is in many other vaccines, traditional vaccines.”

“It is technology that has been around for decades and is being used in many other vaccines currently,” he added. “There are people who have been on the fence about getting vaccinated who have been waiting for a traditional vaccine.”

Area health officials say they are also closely watching the development of potential intranasal vaccines against the disease. 

In February, a New Haven-based startup, Xanadu Bio, indicated it has licensed Yale technology in pursuit of an intranasal COVID vaccine.

Balcezak said this approach “may be able to catch the virus before it gains a foothold in your body.”

The Yale New Haven Health system has seen a significant drop recently in patients hospitalized due to COVID-19, following a spike in January. As of Tuesday, there were 58 COVID-19 in-patients across the Yale health system.

COVID-19 hospitalizations statewide as of Wednesday had dropped to 162, according to Gov. Ned Lamont’s office, with the most recent number of state fatalities to date at 10,515.

Lamont’s office has reported that 2.7 million of the state’s roughly 3.6 million residents are fully vaccinated.

Medical supplies to Ukraine

Yale New Haven Health also announced this week it plans to donate $1 million in medical supplies to the people of Ukraine through the U.S. Cooperative for International Patient Programs. 

The supplies will include surgical masks, gowns, gloves and N95 masks. 

The health system’s staff, in collaboration with the Yale School of Medicine, will also be making donations for humanitarian efforts related to the conflict.

Christopher O’Connor, president of Yale New Haven Health, said the system has supported people and countries during crises such as hurricanes and natural disasters.

“We employ staff from the Ukraine and all feel very strongly that we want to do whatever is in our power to support the people and the nation,” he said.

Hartford HealthCare this week announced it would ship $250,000 in medical supplies and donate $50,000 to support people in Ukraine.

Contact Michelle Tuccitto Sullo at

Sign up for Enews

Related Content


Order a PDF