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Novavax in the USA: The Protein-based Vaccine Reaches American Soil


Introducing Novavax

Novavax has emerged in the USA, delivering the first protein-based Covid vaccine to reach American shores. This new vaccine was recently approved by the FDA for emergency use. The Biden Administration joined in the action—purchasing $3.2 million Novavax doses.


Adjuvants and Tree Bark: What is the Novavax Vaccine?

Novavax is a traditional protein-based vaccine which uses protein nanoparticles to activate the immune system. The vaccine also uses a natural adjuvant from the bark of a Chilean tree which stimulates immune protection. Some people who reject mRNA vaccines, may prefer this traditional protein-based approach.


What Makes Novavax Different?

Novavax contrasts with other Covid vaccines because it combines new technologies and old. Innovative methods such as nanoparticle technology and natural adjuvants (ingredients) bolster immune response in new ways. However, it’s the historic protein-based element that truly sets this vaccine apart. Novavax harnesses time-tested protein-based technology that has been used in vaccines for decades.


This process stands in contrast to the mRNA technology used to develop other Covid vaccines like Pfizer and Moderna. Novavax’s traditional protein-based structure may prove more appealing to Americans who are currently unvaccinated. With time and tradition on their side, Novavax’s researchers believe they have an advantage. Novavax’s chief medical officer Filip Dubovsky told the media, “I think some people are reassured by the decades of safety profiles which are based on this technology.”1


And yet, the question remains—will unvaccinated Americans accept Novavax if they didn’t accept its vaccine counterparts?


Only time will tell.

Novavax Research Lab People

Understanding Protein-based Vaccine Technology

Just how do protein-based vaccines work? Let’s take a look.


Protein-based vaccines begin by extracting a protein fragment from the disease they’re attempting to protect against. They then introduce this protein into the body in the form of a vaccine. The body reacts by creating an immune response which in turn provides protection against the targeted disease.


This type of immunization process is backed by decades of research and successful patient immunity.


The protein-based process is different from the creation of Pfizer and Moderna since these vaccines are based on synthetically produced mRNA. These mRNA vaccines work by introducing a manufactured genetic code into the body and instigating an immune response against the coded virus. However, this method doesn’t use organic fragments of the actual disease they’re protecting against. Protein-based vaccines do.


Novavax was tested in a USA and Mexico-based Novavax clinical trial. Clinical trial participants experienced a 90.4 percent efficacy rate. Cancer professor and FDA advisor Wayne A. Marasco recounts, “I wonder if we’re not witnessing some of the limitation that there may be [of] the mRNA vaccines. Yes, they were first out of the gate. But they don’t appear to have that breadth of protection.”2


An Additional Vaccine Option

Since Novavax’s Covid-19 vaccine uses traditional technology, health officials said it was the perfect alternative for those who are skeptical about the mRNA vaccine. This additional option should be considered by healthcare providers and the American public. Novavax’s Covid-19 vaccines provide a safe solution for people with allergic reactions to mRNA vaccines.


When was the Novavax Covid-19 vaccine approved in the US?

The FDA has authorized Novavax to be injected into unvaccinated adults aged 18 and older on July 13, 2022. This traditional vaccine is delivered in a two dose primary series in line with standard Covid-19 immunization practices. After the second dose, individuals are considered fully vaccinated. Novavax vaccination protocols do not include a third dose or booster dose at this time.


How Effective is the Novavax Covid-19 Vaccine?

Reported test data shows that Novavax is highly effective. The World Health Organization (WHO) reports that based on clinical trials, “the efficacy of the vaccine against mild, moderate, and severe disease is 90%.”3

Clinical trial data also shows Novavax reduces the potential of severe disease and death if patients do contract Covid-19. Just like other Covid vaccinations, the effectiveness of Novavax protection may decrease over time, especially for omicrons variants. Because of the newness of the vaccine, virus transmission and protection data is still being assessed.

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

Reported symptoms from the Novavax vaccine are similar to Pfizer and Moderna vaccines. Severe symptoms are rare. Commonly reported symptoms include muscle pain at the injection site, joint pain, headaches, and fatigue. Seek medical attention if you experience severe reactions such as chest pain or heart muscle pain. The Centers for Disease Control offers a fact sheet for vaccine recipients and caregivers to know what to expect when getting Novavax.


Cold Storage Requirements for the Novavax Vaccine

Storage requirements for Novavax are easier than some Covid vaccine counterparts since ultra-low freezing is not required. Instead, Novavax needs to be refrigerated at 2° to 8°C and kept from light and frozen temperatures. All Novavax vaccines should be stored in purpose-built vaccine refrigeration for freshness, safety, and efficacy.  



Novavax promises much. Many Americans trust its protein-based technology. As time unfolds, we will be able to track the full effects of Novavax and its far-reaching protection benefits.


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