Long Beach now offering Novavax COVID-19 vaccine

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Wednesday, August 3, 2022
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Long Beach is now offering the Novavax vaccine for COVID-19. Here's why some might find it preferable to Moderna or Pfizer.

LONG BEACH, Calif. (KABC) -- This week, the city of Long Beach began administering the new Novavax COVID-19 vaccine

The FDA issued an emergency use authorization for the vaccine last month.

City public health officials hope this new option will encourage more Long Beach residents to roll up their sleeves.

"We want to be able to provide options for them and maybe this is the option that is going to convince them to get the vaccine," said Kristina Gollinger with the Long Beach Health and Human Services Department.

The FDA granted emergency use authorization to Novavax on July 13 for use in adults 18 and older. The two-dose series is administered three to eight weeks apart. It works differently than newer mRNA and DNA vaccines. Novavax contains a coronavirus protein formulated so it cannot cause disease - an approach that's similar to the traditional flu vaccine.

"The recommendation would be to speak with their provider to see what the best option is," Gollinger said.

The FDA found Novavax to be 90% effective against mild, moderate and severe disease in the company's Phase 3 clinical trial involving 30,000 participants ages 18 and older. And some people with specific allergies may tolerate it better than the Pfizer or Moderna versions.

"Maybe if somebody had a reaction or is allergic to some of the ingredients in the other vaccine this could be an alternative for them," she said.

Can you mix and match?

"Novavax is recommended for those who have not yet received a COVID vaccine so it is a first and second dose vaccination," Gollinger said.

And for now Novavax is not recommended as a booster.

On Wednesday, Los Angeles County COVID vaccination sites will start administering the new vaccine.

While Novavax will not be listed as an available option on California's MyTurn site until the end of August, Long Beach residents interested in receiving it now can request it at city-run vaccine clinics. You can also contact your healthcare provider to see if they offer Novavax.