UVA doctor doesn’t expect Novavax to change minds of unvaccinated

UVA Health (FILE)
UVA Health (FILE)
Published: Jul. 25, 2022 at 3:36 PM EDT
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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - You can now get a different type of COVID-19 shot.

The Novavax vaccine was recently approved by the CDC and FDA.

Doctor Taison Bell with UVA Health says between 25 and 35 million Americans are still unvaccinated. He says this new vaccine is unlikely to change their minds.

“I don’t think it’s going to make a big splash in terms of new first-time vaccinations,” Dr. Bell said Monday, July 25.

The newly approved two-dose Novavax vaccine does not use MRNA technology, like Pfizer and Moderna’s shots.

“It’s a protein-based vaccine, which means that it borrows from the same technology or vaccines that have been used for decades now, for instance, that tetanus shot works like this. So it might give a little bit of reassurance to folks who are unvaccinated,” Dr. Bell said.

Bell says, overall, only a small percentage of people who are unvaccinated opted not get the shot because of the MRNA.

“I do think that there’s a small group of people. I think estimates have been around 10-to-15% of those who are just not comfortable with messenger RNA technology. And so I think if we offer people as many options as possible, that is the best approach,” the doctor said.

People are already asking if they can use the new vaccine as a booster in combination with another, like Pfizer or Moderna.

“The data that I’ve seen shows that it’s very comparable to using a boosting with the messenger RNA. What I don’t know at this point is how that protection measures up over time. And so that that’s going to be interesting part of this conversation,” Dr. Bell said.

The FDA has not approved the Novavax vaccine for boosting.

“It’s not technically in the scope of how how they authorize its use, but I do think it’s going to be a part of the armamentarium when it comes to how we deal with it with omicron going forward,” Dr. Bell said.

He says it’s more important to get boosted now rather than in the future.

“It’s better to just get your protection now. It’s not like you can call COVID up and say, ‘Well, why don’t you wait until the fall when I have the new booster to potentially expose me.’ It doesn’t work like that. So if there’s protection to be had, go ahead and get that protection. Now we can worry about what’s coming down the road when we get there,” Dr. Bell said.

The Virginia Department of Health says it is set to receive 20,000 doses of Novavax.

UVA Health says its not sure when it will be available to them.

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