New Novavax COVID-19 vaccine authorized, available "in the coming days"

If, like me, you've been waiting for the new, updated single-strain, XBB.1.5-focused Novavax COVID-19 vaccine, today brought some great news for folks living in the United States—the vaccine received Emergency Use Authorization from the FDA and is now included in the CDC's vaccine recommendations, according to a statement released today from Novavax. CNBC further explains:

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is now including Novavax's shot in the same recommendation it issued last month for updated vaccines from Pfizer and Moderna. That recommendation says all Americans ages six months and older can receive an updated Covid jab.

Novavax said in a statement that doses of the shot will likely be available within the next few days.

"Novavax's authorization today means people will now have the choice of a protein-based non-MRNA option to help protect themselves against Covid-19, which is now the fourth leading cause of death in the U.S.," said Novavax CEO John Jacobs in the statement. "In the coming days, individuals in the U.S. can go to major pharmacies, physicians' offices, clinics and various government entities to receive an updated Novavax vaccine." 

The Novavax vaccine is a protein-based alternative to Pfizer and Moderna's mRNA vaccines. It also includes an adjuvant—a substance added to a vaccine that boosts the body's immune reaction—called "Matrix-M." Matrix-M is created from saponins harvested from the inner bark of the Chilean soapbark tree. It's also the adjuvant that is featured in the new R21/Matrix-M malaria vaccine that was developed by The University of Oxford and the Serum Institute of India, and that was recently recommended for use by the World Health Organization's Strategic Advisory Group of Experts (SAGE) and the Malaria Policy Advisory Group (MPAG).

I am personally thrilled about this development, as some time ago I switched from mRNA to Novavax, and will be seeking out the new Novavax as soon as it arrives in my local pharmacies. If you want to learn more about saponins, the soapbark tree, and the Matrix-M adjuvant, read this fascinating article in The Atlantic