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COVID Vaccine Using Traditional Technology Now Available At Public Health

Catawba County Public Health is now offering the Novavax vaccine to individuals who have previously not been vaccinated for COVID-19. It uses more traditional vaccine technology, the same as what is used for flu, Hepatitis B and shingles, making it an alternative for people who are not comfortable with the mRNA technology used by Pfizer and Moderna. This type of vaccine has been developed and used for more than 30 years, and does not contain a preservative.

Side effects are generally mild and are similar to other COVID-19 vaccines. As with any vaccine, there is a small risk of severe allergic reactions, or temporary inflammation of the heart muscle or lining around it; however, according to Public Health, COVID infection has a higher risk for that condition to develop.

In clinical trials, approximately 25,000 individuals 18 years of age and older received two doses of the Novavax vaccine, and scientists reported to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that it was both safe and effective at preventing cases of severe COVID-19. The vaccine has also been used in many countries worldwide, but only recently applied for approval in the U.S.

Because of rapidly changing variants, Novavax’s duration of protection against COVID-19 is currently unknown, and individuals who receive it may need boosters later. At this time, Novavax is not authorized for use as a booster for individuals who had previously received another type of COVID vaccine. Individuals who are interested in learning more about Novavax or other COVID-19 vaccines should call Catawba County Public Health’s COVID-19 hotline at (828) 282-2002.

The vaccine is currently only available at Catawba County Public Health and other health departments, but is expected to be more broadly available in the community in the coming weeks. Appointments are available by calling (828) 282-2002 and walk-ins are accepted.