Novavax’s new COVID-19 cleared by the FDA | How this shot is different

The FDA Tuesday approved Novavax’s new COVID-19 shot, clearing the way for a new weapon in the fight against the virus. 

The Novavax vaccine relies on technology similar to flu shots and routine childhood immunizations. The new vaccine is approved for people ages 12 and older. It is protein based, mixed with an immune-boosting chemical that’s different from Pfizer’s or Moderna’s mRNA shots already on the market. 

"This is not messenger RNA, it’s a protein subunit," said Dr. Jayne Morgan, Executive Director of Health and Community Education at Piedmont Healthcare and Executive Director of Piedmont’s COVID Taskforce. "Instead of stimulating the body to make the spike protein, it is actually injected whole and ready-to-go as a protein subunit. They are equally effective." 

Protection against COVID, whether from vaccination or prior infection, wanes over time. Health officials have already seen increases in late-summer infections. 

Dr. Morgan says the Novavax shot gives you more options in how to protect yourself against COVID. 

"Now you have a choice between whether you’d like to be vaccinated with one vaccine versus the other," she said. "Novavax, Moderna and Pfizer, the public should also have confidence in moving forward with all three of these vaccines. If there are some fence-riders, hopefully this brings you down from the fence." 

Novavax says the new shots should roll out in the coming days.