Novavax's COVID-19 vaccine rollout off to slow start

The approval of a fourth COVID-19 vaccine won't "make a real dent" in America's vaccination rate, infectious disease experts told ABC News in an Aug. 5 report. 

Although health experts said Novavax's vaccine could appeal to those wary of mRNA-based vaccines, such as Pfizer's and Moderna's, some predicted the protein-based vaccine wouldn't suddenly increase vaccination rates.

Since the FDA and CDC authorized the vaccine for emergency use in adults July 13, about 2 percent of the nation's supply has been used. The U.S. has 332,000 Novavax doses, but as of Aug. 3, 7,381 doses have been administered, according to CDC data.

Of the nation's 5,000 sites with COVID-19 vaccines, 385 locations initially had Novavax's vaccine. Although that number has slowly increased to 986 sites, epidemiologist John Brownstein, PhD, told ABC News a plethora of factors are contributing to the slow uptake. 

"A mix of lower access, limited promotion and a slowing of the vaccination campaign means that Novavax has not been of high priority for remaining unvaccinated Americans," Dr. Brownstein, an epidemiologist at Boston Children's Hospital, told ABC News. "As supply increases, we could see increased access but it's unlikely to make a real dent."

The U.S. ordered 3.2 million extra Novavax doses four weeks ago, but if vaccination trends continue to slow to a crawl, the doses could be tossed in the trash — in addition to the 82 million vaccine doses that have already been thrown away — if demand doesn't pick up.

After this information was released, Novavax revised its projections for its yearly revenue and slashed it in half. The company said in an Aug. 8 press release it now expects to earn between $2 billion and $2.3 billion this year.

Editor's note: This article was updated Aug. 9 at 3:21 C.T.


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