What’s the difference between the Novavax vaccine and others? A doctor breaks it down

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Now that an FDA advisory committee has recommended the Novavax COVID-19 vaccination for emergency use, experts say we could possibly see the FDA give full approval of the vaccine soon.

The director of the Jacksonville Center for Clinical Research says this vaccine could be a game-changer for folks who don’t want Pfizer, Moderna, or the Johnson & Johnson vaccines.

Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are bioengineered vaccines that trick the body into fighting off COVID. The Johnson & Johnson Vaccine uses a dead virus to trigger an immune response to COVID.

But the Novavax vaccine uses a nano-particle of a COVID-19 spike protein to help your body resist the coronavirus.

“The coronavirus needs to use those spike proteins to infect human cells. And by presenting just the spike protein, not the whole virus, just a little part of it, your immune system will prevent that spike protein when the virus comes, from infecting your cells,” Dr. Michael Koren said.

Dr. Koren said 500 people throughout Northeast Florida have already received the Novavax vaccine when they took part in the clinical trials and had no issues.

“They have done remarkably well. It’s been very well tolerated and it’s kept people out of trouble,” Koren said.

Immediate side effects of the Novavax vaccine are similar to the side effects of Pfizer, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson vaccines, including the rare chance of developing heart muscle inflammation.

“And that occurs with any of the vaccines and it’s not specific to the vaccine but specific to the immune response. And I remind people, that the risk of having myocarditis or pericarditis with the vaccines s way less than with COVID 19,” Dr. Koren said.

And unlike the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines which have to be stored at temperatures well below 0-degrees, the Novavax vaccine can simply stay refrigerated which makes it a lot easier to be kept at local doctor’s offices.

Dr. Koren says all the COVID-19 vaccines do their job, they just do it in a different way.

Dr. Koren said it is safe to take the Novavax vaccine as a booster after already taking a different vaccine.

In fact, he says this could possibly become a yearly vaccine for some people who are more at risk of having strong complications from a COVID-19 infection.

About the Author:

Award-winning broadcast and multimedia journalist with 20 years experience.