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8.4.22 – What is Novavax?

Hi, I’m Dr. Nilesh Kalyanaraman, the Health Officer for Anne Arundel County. Welcome to our Weekly Health Update.  The COVID vaccines are safe and effective, and now there’s another one available, Novavax.

What is Novavax?

Novavax is a two-dose COVID vaccine that is now available for anyone 18 years and older. Last month, it was given emergency use authorization by the FDA and endorsed by the CDC as another vaccine option for COVID.

How does Novavax work?

Novavax is a protein based vaccine which presents a part of the COVID virus, the spike protein, to the body to develop immunity. Protein-based vaccines are common and have been used for decades to combat diseases including Hepatitis B and the flu.  

How effective is it?

Data shows that Novavax is more than 90% effective at protecting against symptomatic COVID and 100% effective against severe illness and death. 

Are there side effects?

Most reactions were mild and like those seen from COVID vaccines using mRNA, including pain, tenderness, redness or swelling at the injection site. Like the mRNA COVID vaccines, there is a small concern for pericarditis or myocarditis as well.

Who should get Novavax?

Anyone 18 and older who hasn’t yet gotten vaccinated is eligible to receive Novavax. This is a particularly good option for anyone who is allergic to one of the components of the mRNA vaccines, or who was waiting for a vaccine using a more established technology. It is not available as a booster at this time.

Where can I get Novavax?

You can get it here with the Health Department. If you’re eligible to receive a first dose and you’d like to schedule an appointment, visit our website, aacounty.org/covidvax. You can also check with your primary care provider or a pharmacy to see if they’re offering it.

Stay safe and be kind to yourself and others. We’ll see you next week.

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