FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – July 22, 2022
MEDIA CONTACT: Logan Anderson, Vaccinate Virginia
Statement from Virginia State Vaccination Coordinator Christy Gray on the CDC Recommendation of the Novavax COVID-19 Vaccine for Adults Aged 18 Years and Older
(RICHMOND, Va.) — Virginians now have a fourth vaccine choice when they’re seeking a COVID-19 vaccine following the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) giving its approval on July 19 for administration of the two-dose Novavax COVID-19 vaccine to adults aged 18 years and older.
The federal government has purchased 3.2 million doses of the two-dose Novavax vaccine, which will be distributed to the states and territories for use; Virginia has been allocated 20,800 doses. VDH expects the vaccine to be available by the middle of August. The Novavax vaccine is not available at this time as a booster or third dose for immunocompromised persons.
In January 2022, the company submitted data to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for consideration in its Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) application process. In Phase 3 trials, the vaccine was 90% effective against lab-confirmed, symptomatic infection and 100% effective against moderate and severe disease. Though not tested when the Omicron variant was circulating, the company said the vaccine could generate an immune system response to it, but scientists are still studying that data.
The Novavax COVID-19 Vaccine is designed and manufactured differently than the mRNA COVID-19 vaccines. The Novavax vaccine contains a very small amount of the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein, which elicits an immune response, in combination with an adjuvant, which boosts the immune system response to the vaccine. FDA-approved protein-based vaccines have been used widely for decades; examples of more recently approved vaccines that contain a purified protein combined with an adjuvant include vaccines to prevent hepatitis B and whooping cough (pertussis). The Novavax COVID-19 vaccine offers an option to individuals who may have an allergic reaction to mRNA vaccines or who have a personal preference for receiving a vaccine other than one based on the mRNA technology.
Side effects include those seen with other COVID-19 vaccines in use in the United States today: injection site tenderness, fatigue, headaches and muscle pain.
The following is a statement from Virginia’s State Vaccination Coordinator and Director of the Virginia Department of Health’s Division of Immunization Christy Gray, MPH:
“The CDC estimates that between 26 million and 37 million adults haven’t gotten a single dose of any COVID-19 vaccine. If you’re in that group and have been waiting for a vaccine based on a different technology than those available now, we urge you to consider the two-dose Novavax COVID-19 vaccine. Novavax is safe and effective and uses technology commonly used for decades in vaccines such as those against hepatitis B and whooping cough (pertussis). VDH will be making it available to Virginians as soon as we are able to obtain it from the federal government, which should be the middle of next month.”
Those who are unvaccinated and without a booster remain at the highest risk of severe illness and hospitalization due to COVID-19. This population remains VDH’s top priority. Everyone 6 months or older is eligible to be vaccinated. To find free vaccination opportunities near you, visit vaccinate.virginia.gov or call 877-VAX-IN-VA (877-829-4682, TTY users call 7-1-1). Assistance is available in English, Spanish, and more than 100 other languages.