On Friday, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced it had secured 3.2 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine, Novavax.
Working in collaboration with the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD), HHS said it acquired the doses as a way to provide additional protection options for Americans once the vaccine is given emergency use authorization by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The vaccine will be free to states, jurisdictions, federal pharmacy partners, and federally qualified health centers.
“We remain committed to working to ensure that anyone eligible who wants a vaccine can get one,” said HHS Coordination Operations and Response Element (H-CORE) COO Jason Roos. “While more than two-thirds of the American public are already fully vaccinated, we must maintain a sense of urgency to ensure all eligible individuals get vaccinated, particularly heading into the Fall. This latest vaccine would offer people another choice to help protect themselves from severe disease or hospitalization caused by COVID-19.”
HHS said that securing the vaccines leverages pre-existing U.S. government agreements with Novavax, including the July 2020 agreement for developing and demonstrating large-scale manufacturing of the COVID-19 vaccine. Funding for the vaccines will come from the remainder of the existing agreement, pending completion of quality testing.
Unlike the mRNA COVID-19 vaccine, the Novavax vaccine contains a very small amount of the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein to elicit an immune response, in combination with an adjuvant that boosts the immune response. FDA-approved protein-based vaccines have been used for decades. The Novavax vaccine provides an option to individuals with allergic reactions to the mRNA vaccines or who have a personal preference for not taking an mRNA-based vaccine.