Novavax Vaccine Info
Novavax is a COVID-19 vaccine approved for use in adults 18 years and older. It is currently being used in more than 40 countries and was authorized by the FDA on July 13, 2022, for emergency use in the United States. Here’s everything you need to know about Novavax and the latest data about its safety and efficacy.
What Is Novavax?
Novavax is a vaccine for adults 18 and older that may prevent COVID-19 caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). It is a two-dose vaccine that requires each dose to be given three weeks apart.
According to the FDA, Novavax contains the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein and Matrix-M adjuvant. Adjuvants are ingredients in vaccines that may enhance the immune response of the vaccinated person. The spike protein in Novavax is produced in insect cells, and the Matrix M-adjuvant contains saponin extracts from the bark of the Soapbark tree native to Chile.
Novavax does not contain any live virus and cannot give COVID-19 to those who receive it.
What Is Known About the Novavax Vaccine?
Novavax is currently manufactured in two facilities: one in Europe and one in India.
In Europe, the vaccine is manufactured under the brand name Nuvaxovid. The European Medicines Agency issued an emergency use authorization (EUA) for Nuvaxovid on December 20, 2021. In India, the vaccine is manufactured under the brand name Covovax and was granted an EUA against COVID-19 by the Drugs Controller General of India on December 17, 2021.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO)/EU, it remains unknown whether Novavax can adequately prevent the transmission of COVID-19. Therefore, the WHO recommends that people continue to take safety precautions against COVID-19, including wearing face masks, washing hands regularly, and practicing physical distancing to avoid or reduce transmission.
Is Novavax Available In the US?
On July 13, 2022, the FDA issued an EUA for the Novavax COVID-19 vaccine, adjuvanted for the prevention of COVID-19 in adults 18 and older. A media statement released by the CDC on July 19, 2022, said that Novavax would “be available in the coming weeks” but did not provide an exact date. The CDC added that this fourth COVID-19 vaccine will provide more options and flexibility for consumers, jurisdictions, and vaccine providers.
Is Novavax Safe?
The FDA has stated that Novavax has met the agency’s rigorous standards for safety, effectiveness, and manufacturing quality needed to support EUA. Before receiving EUA, Novavax was tested in a clinical trial in which approximately 26,000 people received the vaccine, and about 25,000 people received a placebo. The most commonly reported side effects of Novavax included:
- Pain and tenderness
- Redness and swelling at the injection site
- Muscle pain
- Joint pain
- Nausea and vomiting
Data from the clinical trial also showed that people who received Novavax were at increased risk for myocarditis (inflammation of the heart muscle) and pericarditis (inflammation of the tissue surrounding the heart). The majority of people who developed myocarditis or pericarditis after receiving Novavax began experiencing symptoms within 10 days of receiving the vaccine.
The WHO/EU states that Novavax safety data for people aged 65 and older is currently limited due to the small number of people in this age group who participated in clinical trials for the vaccine. Novavax is not recommended for anyone under the age of 18. Additionally, the WHO/EU recommends the use of Novavax in pregnant women only when the benefits of vaccination to the woman outweigh potential risks.
Is Novavax Shown To Be Effective Against COVID-19?
The FDA reports that Novavax may be effective at preventing COVID-19. The vaccine’s efficacy was assessed in three Phase 2 and Phase 3 trials, and in two Phase 3 trials, the vaccine’s effectiveness against mild, moderate, and severe disease was found to be 90%. The WHO says there is not enough evidence at this time to confirm the vaccine’s impact on the transmission of COVID-19.
What Other COVID-19 Vaccines Are Available?
There are three other COVID-19 vaccines available in the United States: Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen. All vaccines are approved for use in adults aged 18 and older, while only Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech are approved for use in children and teens under 18.
The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine comes in two doses given three to eight weeks apart, along with two boosters given at least four to five months after a previous dose. The Moderna vaccine comes in two doses given four to eight weeks apart, along with two boosters given at least four to five months after a previous dose. Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen is given as only one dose, along with two boosters given at least two to four months after a previous dose.
Consult with your healthcare provider for more information about available COVID-19 vaccines and how often you should receive boosters based on your age and health status.
Research and materials for this article were compiled, written, and distributed on behalf of the National Public Health Information Coalition. The views and opinions expressed in this blog are those of the various authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the National Public Health Information Coalition or its members.
- U.S. Food and Drug Administration. (2022, July 13). Coronavirus (COVID-19) update: FDA authorizes emergency use of Novavax COVID-19 vaccine, adjuvanted.
- World Health Organization. (2022, June 13). The Novavax vaccine against COVID-19: What you need to know.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2022, July 19). CDC recommends Novavax’s COVID-19 vaccine for adults.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2022, July 19). Stay up to date with your COVID-19 vaccines.