Frequently Asked Questions about Novavax Vaccine

On July 19, 2022, the CDC updated its COVID-19 vaccine recommendations, approving the Novavax vaccine for emergency use authorization for adults 18 years and older. Novavax is a two-dose, protein-based COVID-19 vaccine that is currently being used in more than 40 countries and has been authorized by the European Union and the World Health Organization.

Novavax will now be the fourth COVID-19 vaccine available in the U.S., in addition to Pfizer, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson. As a protein-based vaccine, Novavax is another option for people who are allergic to one of the components in a mRNA or viral-vector vaccine. The vaccine is currently authorized as a primary series only, and not as a booster dose.

Regulators authorized the vaccine following an extensive review of clinical trials and safety and effectiveness data. At the time of the announcement, the CDC stated that the Novavax vaccine would be available in the coming weeks.

Updated July 20, 2022

The Novavax vaccine is created using more traditional protein-based technology for vaccine development, unlike the other vaccines currently available in the United States (the Pfizer and Moderna mRNA vaccines and viral-vector Johnson & Johnson vaccine). 

The Novavax vaccine uses a combination of purified coronavirus spike proteins and an immune-boosting stimulant called an adjuvant (common in many vaccines) to strengthen the body’s immune response against COVID-19. Novavax has already been authorized in more than 40 countries and has been granted emergency authorization from the European Union and the World Health Organization.

Updated June 29, 2022

Data from the Novavax clinical trial also show that Novavax is more than 90% effective at protecting against symptomatic COVID-19, and 100% effective against severe illness and death. Common side effects include soreness at the injection site, fatigue, muscle pain, and headaches. 

In terms of serious adverse reactions to Novavax, data show there were six cases of myocarditis from a clinical trial of about 30,000 people, primarily among young men. The cases of myocarditis in the clinical trial were treatable, and all six individuals recovered well. The risk of developing myocarditis from COVID-19 remains higher than the risk of developing it from a COVID-19 vaccine, including Novavax.

Updated June 29, 2022