On Tuesday, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) authorized the use of a new Novavax vaccine specifically targeted to protect against the latest Omicron circulating strains. Following a bumpy rollout of the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines, it will bring another option to the table for those who are ready to roll up their sleeves and get vaccinated amid a rise in COVID cases that started this summer.
The shot, which could be available as early as next week in pharmacies, comes three weeks after Moderna and Pfizer got their vaccines approved. But while the latter uses modern mRNA technology to target the SARS-CoV-2 virus, the Novavax shot uses a protein to target the same thing. It’s the same method that has been used for years to protect against other infections like meningococcal disease and pneumonia.
The Novavax vaccine will be available for individuals 12 years and up who have not already gotten the Moderna or Pfizer vaccines that were approved a few weeks ago. Those who have already been vaccinated can get a single dose, while those who are unvaccinated can get two doses. USA Today reported that Novavax’s vaccines take longer to manufacture, which may be one reason why they’re being rolled out later.
“As we head into the fall season and transition into 2024, we strongly encourage those who are eligible to consider receiving an updated COVID-19 vaccine to provide better protection against currently circulating variants,” said Dr. Peter Marks, Ph.D., the director of the FDA’s Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research.