The Food and Drug Administration on Wednesday authorized Novavax COVID-19 vaccine as a booster for U.S. adults, including people unable to get updated Omicron boosters.
The authorization of Novavax’s booster could significantly increase its role in U.S. vaccination efforts. The Maryland based biotech’s vaccine was only authorized as a two-dose primary series, limiting its market for those already immunized with Pfizer or Moderna.
The FDA said adults ages 18 and older can receive Novavax as their third dose six months after completion of the primary series of any U.S. authorized Covid vaccine.
“According to CDC data, almost 50 percent of adults who received their primary series have yet to receive their first booster dose. Offering another vaccine choice may help increase COVID-19 booster vaccination rates for these adults,” Novavax CEO Stanley Erck said in a statement Wednesday.
The FDA’s authorization of Novavax’s boosters comes as millions have already received Pfizer’s and Moderna’s new shots that target the omicron BA.5 subvariant and the original strain.
Despite Novavax’s booster being developed against the original strain, the company believes its protein technology is effective against different variants of the virus.
According to the CDC only 35,300 people have received Novavax’s shots as a primary series in the U.S.
U.S. health officials believe Pfizer and Moderna’s updated boosters will provide stronger protection than the first generation of vaccines because they target omicron BA.5, which is causing most infections right now.