The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has authorized the updated Novavax COVID-19 vaccine, providing an additional option to protect against hospitalization and death from circulating variants. This protein-based shot is designed to target the XBB.1.5 strain and offers a non-mRNA alternative for the upcoming 2023-2024 season. After approving Pfizer and Moderna’s new vaccines last month for individuals aged 6 months and older, the FDA’s authorization of Novavax provides more choices for the public.
Previously vaccinated individuals aged 12 years and older, who have not already received a dose of an mRNA vaccine, are eligible to receive one dose of the adjuvanted protein-based Novavax vaccine. On the other hand, unvaccinated individuals are encouraged to receive two doses. The FDA emphasizes that the Novavax vaccine meets the agency’s standards for safety, effectiveness, and manufacturing quality needed for emergency use authorization. Dr. Peter Marks, director of the FDA’s Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research, urges eligible individuals to consider getting an updated COVID-19 vaccine to enhance their protection against currently circulating variants.
Regulators have carefully assessed the updated Novavax vaccine and concluded that its benefits outweigh the associated risks in individuals aged 12 years and older. In addition to the older clinical trial data supporting the original Novavax vaccine, manufacturing and non-clinical immune response data have been considered in the decision-making process. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have recently recommended the use of updated, monovalent, XBB-targeting COVID-19 shots authorized or approved for the 2023-2024 season by the FDA. As a result, the original monovalent Novavax COVID-19 vaccine is no longer authorized for use in the United States.
As we approach the fall season and transition into 2024, it is crucial to prioritize our protection against the evolving variants of COVID-19. While mRNA vaccines have played a pivotal role in combating the virus, the availability of protein-based alternatives like the Novavax vaccine provides individuals with more choices and potentially broader accessibility. A diverse vaccine portfolio helps us adapt to the changing landscape of the pandemic and ensures that everyone has the opportunity to receive effective protection.
The FDA’s authorization of the updated Novavax vaccine highlights the agency’s commitment to employing a comprehensive approach in addressing the COVID-19 pandemic. By considering a range of vaccine options with different mechanisms of action, the FDA aims to provide the public with a variety of effective tools to combat the virus. This approach also takes into account the evolving nature of the virus and the need for ongoing innovation and adaptation in our vaccination strategies.
The FDA’s authorization of the updated Novavax COVID-19 vaccine represents an important development in our fight against the virus. By expanding our available vaccine options, we can better safeguard against hospitalization and death caused by circulating variants. As we navigate the upcoming 2023-2024 season, individuals aged 12 years and older are encouraged to consider getting an updated COVID-19 vaccine to ensure optimal protection. The FDA’s approval process, which carefully evaluates the benefits and risks of each vaccine, underscores the importance of informed decision-making in safeguarding public health.