For a year and a half Americans looking to get a COVID-19 vaccine have had the same three options to choose from. However, if you are planning to get vaccinated in the near future, you now have another option to consider. The FDA has officially authorized the Novavax COVID-19 vaccine for emergency use in the U.S., and if you are skeptical of mRNA tech, this may be the perfect option. In fact, experts are hopeful that this option may boost the number of new COVID vaccinations in the U.S., which have stalled a bit according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna were approved for use following their individual authorizations, meanwhile, the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine is still operating under an emergency use authorization with restrictions, SELF notes.
People ages 18 and up will be able to get the Novavax vaccine, which the Biden administration has already ordered 3.2 million doses of. This will be enough to vaccinate 1.6 million Americans.
So how exactly does this vaccine work and how does it differ from the mRNA options? Here’s everything you need to know about the Novavax vaccine before you head out to your nearest vaccination location.
How does the Novavax vaccine work?
The Novavax vaccine will be administered in two doses just like the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines with each vaccine spaced three weeks apart.
The biggest thing that sets the Novavax vaccine apart from Pfizer and Moderna, however, is that it isn’t an mRNA vaccine, but what exactly does this mean?
To understand this, let’s take a look at how an mRNA vaccination works. An mRNA vaccine, like the ones Pfizer or Moderna use, work by using messenger RNA (which carries information from the DNA in a cell’s nucleus) that is created in a lab to teach the body how to create an immune response, according to the CDC.
Novavax, on the other hand, is protein-based, which means no mRNA is required.
Wondering how this all works?
Let’s break it down.
In order to create the vaccine, scientists used the spike protein from the genetic sequence of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that