Novavax was cleared for emergency use by the US Food and Drug Administration and Centers for Disease Control last month and, as a protein-based vaccine, it serves as an alternative to mRNA vaccines currently available such as Pfizer and Moderna.
Prior to Thursday’s announcement, only those 18 and older were eligible to receive the vaccine. The decision to expand eligibility comes after the FDA last week approved emergency use authorization for the vaccine for ages 12 and older. The Centers for Disease Control approved the action a few days later.
“This expansion will help keep our children safe, especially as families prepare to return to school,” Mayor Robert Garcia said in a statement Thursday. “We urge everyone to get vaccinated and protect themselves if they haven’t already.”
Novavax is now the fourth vaccine available in the United States.
It differs from its mRNA counterparts because rather than tricking cells in the body into creating parts of the coronavirus, which then triggers an immune system response, it uses a spike protein from the virus itself that has was created as a nanoparticle, which cannot cause disease in a person. It also contains a stimulant taken from the extract of a soap tree which is intended to produce a better immune system response.
This older protein-based technology has been used successfully for decades to treat other diseases such as hepatitis B and HPV.
The Novavax coronavirus vaccine has been approved for emergency use authorization after it was found to be 90% effective against mild, moderate and severe illnesses in an FDA Phase 3 clinical trial involving 30 000 participants aged 18 and over.
“Authorizing an additional COVID-19 vaccine expands the vaccine options available for the prevention of COVID-19, including the more serious consequences that can occur such as hospitalization and death,” said FDA Commissioner Dr. Robert M. Califf, announcing the authorization of the vaccine. in July.
The vaccine is given in a primary series of two doses three to eight weeks apart (use of the Novavax vaccine as a third primary and booster injection has not been authorized, according to the CDC).
The Novavax vaccine won’t be listed as an option on the city’s MyTurn website until late August. But anyone interested in getting the Novavax vaccine can apply for it at one of the city-run vaccination clinics, officials said.
With COVID-19 vaccines now available for everyone 6 months and older, health officials continue to urge people to get vaccinated, pointing out that vaccines have been rigorously monitored for s ensure they are safe and effective.
In Long Beach, 70.5% of residents are fully immunized, according to the city’s most recent data. During this time, 78% received at least one dose.
Additionally, parents and guardians are encouraged to enroll their children in V-Safe to share information with the CDC about how their child is feeling after receiving the vaccine. It is recommended that any suspected adverse event after vaccination be reported to the Vaccine Adverse Events Reporting System (VAERS).
Long Beach will begin offering the newly approved Novavax COVID-19 vaccine next week