New COVID-19 Vaccine, Novavax, Available

new COVID-19 vaccine, Novavax, is available. This vaccine may be a good option for people who were previously unable to receive the Pfizer, Moderna, and/or Johnson & Johnson vaccine due to allergies or for people who were hesitant to receive a vaccine based on mRNA or viral vector technology.

Novavax is a two-dose series available to people 12 years and older. It differs from current COVID-19 vaccines on the market by its more traditional protein-based technology development. Protein-based vaccines have been used for decades and have a strong track record of safety and mild side effects. It’s currently being used in more than 40 countries and has been authorized by the European Union.

Experts agree that the COVID-19 vaccine is recommended for people with cancer, cancer survivors, and those currently in treatment. We also know that it’s important for family, caregivers, and close contacts to be vaccinated and boosted.

A few points to consider for cancer patients and Novavax:

  • A booster dose six months after the primary series is only authorized for adults 18 years and older in the United States.
  • A third dose is not currently authorized for people who are immunocompromised, which can include cancer patients.
  • Novavax cannot be “mixed and matched” as freely as other mRNA COVID-19 vaccine brands can be.
  • Data is limited on Novavax’s efficacy in people with cancer.
  • Guidance from the National Comprehensive Cancer Network still advises mRNA vaccines are preferred for people with cancer.

The Takeaway

The Novavax vaccine is another tool in our toolkit to increase COVID-19 vaccination and offers another option for Wisconsinites to get fully vaccinated who have not been already.

Availability in Wisconsin is limited to 48,500 doses. Please contact your local health department, health system, or pharmacy to determine local availability.

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