CDC panel gives green light to Novavax COVID-19 vaccine

A Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) advisory committee on Tuesday unanimously voted to recommend the Novavax COVID-19 vaccine, giving a green light to a fourth shot to fight the virus.

The Novavax vaccine is not expected to play a major role in the U.S. vaccination campaign, given that it is intended for the initial doses, not as a booster, and most people have already received their initial vaccinations.

But some hope that it could play a role persuading the vaccine-hesitant to get their shots. The Novavax vaccine uses a more traditional vaccine technology, compared to the mRNA technology used by Pfizer and Moderna. Therefore, it could influence those who had reservations about the Pfizer and Moderna products.

Following the panel’s 12-0 vote, CDC Director Rochelle Walensky will have the final step to sign off on the vaccine.

The Biden administration previously announced it was purchasing 3.2 million doses of Novavax.

“We remain committed to working to ensure that anyone eligible who wants a vaccine can get one,” Jason Roos, a Department of Health and Human Services official, said earlier this month in making the purchase.

“While more than two-thirds of the American public are already fully vaccinated, we must maintain a sense of urgency to ensure all eligible individuals get vaccinated, particularly heading into the Fall. This latest vaccine would offer people another choice to help protect themselves from severe disease or hospitalization caused by COVID-19,” he added.

About 10 percent of U.S. adults have still not received any doses of a COVID-19 vaccine, according to CDC data.

Separately, experts are also urging people who have already received the initial shots to stay up to date on their booster doses as the BA.5 subvariant circulates.

When the Food and Drug Administration authorized Novavax earlier this month, Commissioner Robert Califf said the move “offers adults in the United States who have not yet received a COVID-19 vaccine another option that meets the FDA’s rigorous standards for safety, effectiveness and manufacturing quality needed to support emergency use authorization.“

For the latest news, weather, sports, and streaming video, head to The Hill.