Novavax COVID-19 Vaccine Frequently Asked Questions

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued an Emergency Use Authorization to permit the use of the Novavax COVID-19 vaccine. On July 19, 2022 the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommended the Novavax COVID-19 vaccine for adults 18 years of age and older. Novavax COVID-19 vaccine is given in a two-dose primary series only and must be given three to eight weeks apart. The vaccine is already available for use in at least 170 countries. Novavax is now the fourth COVID-19 vaccine available in the United States.

Novavax is a traditional protein vaccine. Protein vaccines have been used for years to prevent hepatitis B, shingles and other diseases. So what exactly is Novavax and what should you know about the vaccine? Here’s a breakdown.

What is the Novavax COVID-19 vaccine and how is it different?

The Novavax COVID-19 vaccine trains the body to fight the coronavirus by delivering copies of the spike protein, its outer coating. The spike protein is packaged into nanoparticles along with an immune boosting ingredient to ensure that the body has a strong immune response to the vaccine.


Who should get the Novavax vaccine?

Anyone 18 years of age or older who has not started a COVID-19 vaccine series can get the Novavax vaccine. Novavax is an option for individuals who are allergic to one of the components of the mRNA vaccines.


How effective is the Novavax COVID-19 vaccine?

Like the other vaccines used in the U.S., the Novavax shots have proved highly effective at preventing COVID-19’s most severe outcomes. Data shows that Novavax is more than 90% effective at protecting against symptomatic COVID-19 and 100% effective against severe illness and death.


What are the side effects of Novavax COVID-19 vaccine?

Common side effects after receiving the Novavax COVID-19 vaccine include soreness at the injection site, fatigue, muscle pain and headaches. Data demonstrate a rare risk of myocarditis and pericarditis, particularly 7 days following the second dose, in male’s ages 18-39. Some cases required intensive care support. Most symptoms are resolved with conservative management. The FDA and CDC determined that the benefits of the vaccine, preventing COVID-19 and its severe outcomes, outweigh the rare risk of myocarditis and/or pericarditis.

To further reduce the risk of myocarditis or pericarditis, a longer interval between the first and second dose of Novavax of 8 weeks may be appropriate for some people ages 18 and older who are not immunocompromised, especially for males ages 18-39.

If you have questions specific to your situation, speak with your medical provider. More information about this interval consideration.


Can Novavax be used as a booster? 

Currently, adults who receive Novavax COVID-19 vaccine as their primary series are not authorized to receive a booster dose and Novavax COVID-19 vaccine can not be given as a booster dose.


Where can I get a Novavax COVID-19 vaccine?

The Anne Arundel County Department of Health will be offering Novavax COVID-19 vaccines by appointment only. If you are eligible to receive a first dose please schedule an appointment

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