Novavax's COVID-19 vaccine fully authorized

After more than a year of Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson shots going into people's arms, there's now a fourth vaccine option. 

Novavax's two-dose vaccine got the final OK for adults from CDC Director Rochelle Walensky July 19 after an advisory panel voted 12-0 earlier in the day to recommend the shots. 

Although it's a latecomer to the COVID-19 vaccine landscape, the vaccine could appeal to those who aren't vaccinated since it isn't mRNA-based like Pfizer and Moderna. Rather, Novavax's vaccine is protein-based, which is the same technology used in familiar vaccines like those for whooping cough and the flu. 

Some health experts said that despite the latest vaccine's differences from older COVID-19 vaccines, they don't expect the news to suddenly boost vaccination rates, which show about 30 million adults lack a first dose.

"Providing rational explanations and alternatives like Novavax that address some concerns doesn't necessarily get you past the fact that there's just an aversion to being vaccinated," Robert Schooley, MD, an infectious disease specialist at UC San Diego Health, told CNBC July 15.

Before the FDA authorized the vaccine candidate July 13, the U.S. had already ordered more than 3 million doses of Novavax to be available this summer. 

In clinical trials, which occurred before omicron became the dominant variant, Novavax's vaccine had a 90 percent efficacy rate among adult participants.


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