Butler County General Health District now offering Novavax for COVID-19 prevention

The Butler County General Health District is now providing the Novavax COVID-19 vaccine for residents 18 years and older, two weeks after the Center for Disease Control and Prevention approved its use.

The Novavax vaccine is the fourth COVID-19 vaccine to be approved in the country’s fight against the pandemic. Distinctively, this vaccine approaches immunization in a more traditional way than the previously-approved Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines.

While Pfizer and Moderna’s COVID vaccine use the new mRNA technology and Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine uses a slightly more conventional “adenovirus” technology, the Novavax vaccine takes a traditional “subunit” approach that has been used in vaccines to prevent shingles, diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis for decades.

In the CDC’s message declaring approval, the agency said the Novavax vaccine is “... an important tool in the pandemic and provides a more familiar type of COVID-19 vaccine technology for adults.”

“We have expanded the options available to adults in the U.S. by recommending another safe and effective COVID-19 vaccine,” said CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky. “If you have been waiting for a COVID-19 vaccine built on a different technology than those previously available, now is the time to join the millions of Americans who have been vaccinated.”

In Butler County, the general health district in Hamilton received about 100 doses of the Novavax vaccine, according to the district’s spokesperson Erin Smiley, and started administering the doses on Monday.

Smiley said folks who had previously scheduled a vaccination appointment were given the option to receive Novavax. She said the district administered three doses on Monday and two doses on Tuesday.

“Those folks asked specifically for Novavax, so people do seem to be seeking it out specifically,” Smiley said.

The Novavax immunization regimen requires two doses, with the second coming three weeks after the first. The vaccine’s efficacy was published at slightly above 90% for all adults (about 91% effective for adults 18 to 65 years old and about 79% effective for adults over 65) in an FDA review.

However, the study was conducted before the Omicron wave, and the vaccine’s efficacy for Omicron subvariants is unknown, according to Yale Medicine.

Those interested in receiving the Novavax vaccine can schedule appointments through the Butler County General Health District, or walk in during the district’s vaccination clinic on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. or from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.

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