CDC Recommends Novavax: This is How It is Totally different From Different COVID-19 Vaccines


For probably the most up-to-date information and details about the coronavirus pandemic, go to the WHO and CDC web sites.

What’s taking place

The CDC has advisable a brand new COVID-19 vaccine known as Novavax.

Why it issues

Novavax is the primary protein-based vaccine for COVID-19 out there within the US, although protein-based vaccines have been round for many years.

What it means for you

If you have not been vaccinated but, you are eligible for Novavax, which expands the vaccine choices.

The US Facilities for Illness Management and Prevention advisable Novavax’s COVID-19 vaccine late Tuesday, following an endorsement from a bunch of scientific advisers that give recommendation to the CDC. 

Novavax is a two-dose main sequence vaccine for adults 18 and older, authorized last week by the US Meals and Drug Administration. As a result of it is solely advisable as a main sequence and never a booster shot, the brand new vaccine cannot be used as a booster but in individuals who’ve already been vaccinated. 

However making Novavax out there means individuals who’ve been holding out for a protein-based or extra “conventional” vaccine sort could now be extra inclined to get COVID photographs. Vaccine varieties like Novavax have been round for greater than 30 years, in response to the CDC.

Greater than two years into the pandemic, a majority of Individuals (about 67%) are absolutely vaccinated towards COVID-19, and lots of have added a booster dose or two. However the variety of those that are absolutely vaccinated hasn’t change very a lot in current weeks, and people hesitant about vaccination appear to be firm in their stance, in response to a ballot from the Kaiser Household Basis. The proportion of American adults who answered the ballot who mentioned they’d “undoubtedly not” get a COVID-19 vaccine ranged from 15% in December 2020 to 17% in April 2022.

Novavax had a contract with the federal authorities by way of Operation Warp Speed however has skilled manufacturing problems which have hindered a speedy emergency use authorization. Its COVID vaccine is already out there in different international locations, together with Canada and Australia, underneath the identify Nuvaxovid.

“It is good to have a vaccine on board like Novavax as a result of it is an alternative choice for those who might need contraindications to the opposite vaccine platforms,” Ross Kedl, a professor of immunology and microbiology on the College of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus, mentioned in an e-mail. “Some have allergic reactions or extra uncommon issues like blood clots.”

The Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine continues to be approved within the US, however use of it has been restricted due to a uncommon however critical threat of blood clots. This leaves Pfizer’s and Moderna’s vaccines as the opposite two at present advisable choices for adults.

This is what to learn about Novavax.

Woman points to a Band-Aid on her arm after getting a shot.

VioletaStoimenova/Getty Photos

When can I get a Novavax shot? 

The CDC mentioned when it advisable Novavax that the vaccine might be out there “within the coming weeks.” At the moment, the federal government’s vaccine finder tool would not checklist Novavax as an choice out there at close by pharmacies. 

The Biden administration announced this month that it is secured greater than 3 million doses of Novavax, which might be launched to the states. 

Who can get Novavax? 

Novavax’s COVID-19 vaccine is for adults who have not obtained any COVID-19 vaccine but. It is authorized as a two-dose primary series for adults age 18 and up, with every dose usually given three weeks aside. 

As a result of it is approved as a main sequence, individuals who’ve already been vaccinated cannot get it as a further shot or booster proper now. However because the FDA has approved a mix-and-match method with different COVID-19 vaccines prior to now, Novavax’s authorization could also be prolonged to extra individuals sooner or later. 

“I believe that the actual benefit of the Novavax vaccine is to the sector extra broadly,” Kedl mentioned previous to the FDA’s authorization. “As a result of it now has another vaccine platform to combine and match with the opposite vaccines.”

It is also doable that Novavax may have a brand new, omicron-specific booster prepared this fall or winter. After the FDA introduced its plans for the fall vaccine rollout, Novavax mentioned it is speeding up work on an omicron-specific vaccine that targets the super-contagious BA.5. However like the opposite new, future boosters made by different vaccine corporations, the FDA might want to authorize this individually. 

What’s Novavax? How is it completely different?

Novavax is a COVID-19 vaccine that makes use of a extra conventional protein-based know-how, not like the opposite vaccines at present out there within the US: Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna use mRNA know-how, and Johnson & Johnson is a viral-vector vaccine. 

Within the Novavax vaccine, a purified protein of the virus is blended with what’s known as an adjuvant — components that “get up the immune response and inform it to take this goal critically,” Kedl mentioned.

Dr. Glenn Wortmann, an infectious illness specialist with MedStar Well being, mentioned the overall method of most vaccines is to make use of a protein base.

“Particularly, Novavax is similar to the hepatitis B vaccine” that the majority of us obtain as kids, Wortmann mentioned. Some vaccines for influenza, shingles and different illnesses use an identical know-how.

Whereas it provides an alternative choice, nonetheless, the jury could also be out on whether or not Novavax provides superior immunity to Pfizer’s and Moderna’s vaccines. 

“Immunologically talking, in my opinion it does probably not convey an terrible lot by itself to the desk that’s not already well-addressed by the mRNA vaccines,” Kedl mentioned. 

Nevertheless, it’s simpler to retailer and ship than mRNA vaccines, he mentioned. This can be a bonus when vaccinating harder-to-reach communities the place preserving finicky vaccines cool within the fridge could also be tough. However Novavax has critical disadvantages in terms of manufacturing, Kedl mentioned, as a result of it is not low-cost for the corporate to provide and purify the proteins. 

“mRNA vaccines skip that step as a result of they flip every particular person into their very own vaccine producer,” he mentioned. mRNA vaccines work by teaching our cells to make the protein themselves that can set off an immune response.

For that reason, mRNA vaccines are simpler to regulate than Novavax when a brand new variant comes alongside, Kedl mentioned. 

“The mRNA platform is way extra modifiable than what Novavax does,” he mentioned. “Each time a brand new variant vaccine must be made, Novavax goes to should do plenty of work within the lab to determine which adjustments will nonetheless permit a superb protein to be made and purified at mass portions.”

Multiple vials of COVID-19 vaccine against a light blue background.

Yulia Reznikov/Getty Photos

How efficient is Novavax?

Revealed results from a trial discovered that Novavax was greater than 90% efficient towards symptomatic COVID-19, and 100% efficient towards extreme illness and dying. However importantly, that trial was carried out earlier than the omicron or delta variants have been extensively circulating. Each the delta and omicron variants — together with omicron subvariant BA.5 — are extra contagious and evade some immunity from vaccines and prior an infection.

Actual-world knowledge evaluating the effectiveness of Novavax to different vaccines would not exist but. Per the World Health Organization, “It’s unattainable to match vaccines face to face because of the completely different approaches taken in designing the respective research.” 

How will the US pay for Novavax? 

Whereas COVID-19 vaccines have been free and out there to all Individuals, current funding stalled in Congress and federal officers have warned we’re working out of cash for COVID-19 checks, vaccines, therapies and associated spending. Some companies for Individuals with out medical health insurance have already expired. 

The US authorities secured 3.2 million doses of Novavax, which implies doses might be free. Cash for COVID-19 testing and protecting gear is being moved round to cowl the prices of vaccines and therapy for the autumn, The New York Times reports

The data contained on this article is for instructional and informational functions solely and isn’t meant as well being or medical recommendation. All the time seek the advice of a doctor or different certified well being supplier concerning any questions you will have a couple of medical situation or well being aims.

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