GAITHERSBURG, Md. — Novavax is waiting for approval from the Food and Drug Administration to start rolling out its COVID-19 vaccine. If approved, it would be the fourth available vaccine in the United States.
The Gaithersburg company hopes its protein-based vaccine will persuade those who still have no protection against COVID-19, to finally get vaccinated.
After nearly two years, Novavax filed for emergency use authorization with the FDA last week. The company said their shot gives the unvaccinated an option they might be more comfortable with.
It is a two-dose vaccine, given three weeks apart, similar to Pfizer and Moderna. While Pfizer and Moderna are mRNA vaccines, Novavax is based on a protein subunit technology. It is the same method that has been used to protect people for decades, often resulting in fewer side effects.
"Our vaccine technology is built on the same platform as other vaccines like that people are commonly getting such as HPV and Shingles," said Silvia Taylor, with Novavax Global Corporate Affairs. "We think the fact that it's a tried and true technology platform could get some of the vaccine hesitant people to get their vaccinations."
Many people have asked if a fourth vaccine is needed. Currently, 64% of the U.S. population is fully vaccinated. If Novavax is approved, only those 18 and older would be eligible, and the majority of that population has already had at least one dose of the vaccine.
However, Novavax officials say the need for vaccines is still much greater globally, and here in the U.S, they hope to change the minds of those that have been holding out.
"There is still the need for people to get vaccinated," Taylor said. "No one is safe until everybody is safe so that means it's really important for the population to get their initial series and then their booster. We think our vaccine can be an important option to make people feel confident and more comfortable in getting their vaccination."
Clinical trials have proven this new vaccine to be 90% effective. Officials say they will soon file for emergency use authorization for those under the age of 18.