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NC prepares to rollout the newly authorized Novavax COVID-19 vaccine

Alastair Grant
AP Photo
A vial of the phase 3 Novavax coronavirus vaccine is seen ready for use in the trial at St. George's University hospital in London, Oct. 7, 2020. The vaccine has since been authorized for use in the U.S.

North Carolina has added the Novavax vaccine to its arsenal of vaccines to help combat COVID-19.

The Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced last week they were authorizing and recommending the Novavax vaccine as another option to prevent severe illness from COVID-19.

According to the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services, Novavax uses protein-based technology which has for decades been used in shots protecting against diseases such as shingles, hepatitis B, flu, and other illnesses.

Becky DeCamillis is an epidemiologist with Novant Health. She says Novavax is a good alternative for those nervous about the recently developed vaccines based on mRNA technology.

And she acknowledges that with the possibility of more omicron-resistant vaccine options predicted for as early as this fall, the public may be confused about whether or not to wait on getting their first-time shots or boosters. But she says the value in the available vaccines lies in their ability to protect against getting severely ill.

"So, for folks who haven’t yet been vaccinated, I encourage them to get the vaccine now," says DeCamillis. "We are seeing way, way fewer cases of severe illness, hospitalization, and death, so I think it’s important to recognize that vaccines are still a really valuable tool."

DeCamillis also says that getting a shot now would not prevent you from being eligible for an omicron-specific booster in the fall.

NCDHHS officials say the two-dose Novavax vaccine will soon be available to North Carolinians over the age of 18 who have not yet been vaccinated.

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