Americans will now have another choice if they want a COVID booster shot.
On Wednesday, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved Novavax Inc.'s protein-based vaccine as a first booster dose. Until now, it had only been approved as a two-dose primary series.
“The U.S. now has access to the Novavax COVID-19 Vaccine, adjuvanted, the first protein-based option, as a booster,” Novavax President and CEO Stanley Erck said in a news release. “According to CDC data, almost 50 percent of adults who received their primary series have yet to receive their first booster dose. Offering another vaccine choice may help increase COVID-19 booster vaccination rates for these adults.”
The Novavax booster could be used by adults who can't find or are not able to use an mRNA boosters from Pfizer or Moderna. It's also available to people who prefer this vaccine for a booster over the mRNA options. The Novavax booster can be given at least six months after the primary series.
The Novavax vaccine uses a more traditional approach to fighting the virus, teaching the immune system to recognize modified fragments of the coronavirus spike protein.
Scientists created the vaccine from a genetic sequence of the original strain of the virus. Vaccines that fight hepatitis B and pertussis are also made in this way.
Public health officials are encouraging people to get their boosters. About 68% of U.S. residents have had an initial COVID vaccine series, but only 33.5% have received boosters, CDC data shows. Novavax's vaccine is one of four options available in the United States now.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has more on COVID-19 vaccines.