Novavax’s COVID-19 vaccine rollout is sluggish with only 7,000 doses in arms

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After last month’s emergency clearance, just 7,300 doses of Novavax’s COVID-19 vaccine have been administered to Americans nationwide, recently updated data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reveals.

According to John Brownstein, Ph.D., an epidemiologist at Boston Children’s Hospital and an TNZT News contributor, the slow start may be due in part to the vaccines not being made available immediately after approval, and so there may be some delay in reporting.

Total Novavax doses represent only a fraction of daily injections, although the total number of vaccines administered has fallen sharply in recent months.

A health professional prepares a dose of Novavax’s COVID-19 vaccine in Utrecht, Netherlands, March 15, 2022. Unlike mRNA vaccines, it does not need to be stored at ultra-low temperatures, giving it a logistical advantage in hard-to-access to regions.

Jeroen Jumelet/ANP via TNZT/Getty Images

In addition, the vaccine is not widely available, with only 385 locations initially offering the Novavax vaccine of the more than 53,000 locations with COVID-19 vaccines, Brownstein said. In recent days, however, that number has risen to 986 sites, which Brownstein says could help boost uptake.

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“A mix of lower access, limited promotion and a delay in the vaccination campaign means that Novavax has not been a high priority for the remaining unvaccinated Americans,” Brownstein said. “As supply increases, we may see greater access, but it’s unlikely to make a real dent.”

In July, the Biden administration secured 3.2 million doses of Novavax’s COVID-19 vaccine, hoping some unvaccinated Americans would get the shot.

PHOTO: A health worker administers a dose of the Novavax COVID-19 vaccine at a pharmacy in Schwenksville, Pennsylvania, Aug. 1, 2022.

A health worker administers a dose of Novavax’s COVID-19 vaccine at a pharmacy in Schwenksville, Pennsylvania, Aug. 1, 2022. Novavax’s protein-based Covid-19 vaccine received long-sought authorization for emergency use in the United States in July. US

Bloomberg via Getty Images

A number of health experts had expressed the hope that some of those who still hesitate to get vaccinated would be more likely to receive the Novavax vaccine because it is based on a more traditional protein-based technology, a technology already used for the flu vaccine and other injections, while the vaccine platforms of Pfizer and Moderna used a new genetic technology – with messenger RNA – to produce their vaccines.

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“A more traditional delivery route should be seen as an incentive to convince those who have yet to roll up their sleeves,” explains Brownstein.

However, early indicators suggest that authorization has not yet substantially moved the needle among the most hesitant Americans.

Still, health experts previously told TNZT News that as widespread as the use of Novavax’s vaccine is, it will still save lives.

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Nationally, there are still more than 26 million American adults who are completely unvaccinated.

The number of people receiving a first dose of COVID-19 since November 2021 has not increased significantly. Since then, the average number has steadily declined to about 50,000 first injections given each day to all eligible age groups.

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