Updated Jul 19, 2022 - Health

CDC director authorizes Novavax COVID shot for adults

Photo by Jeroen Jumelet/ANP/AFP via Getty Images

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Rochelle Walensky authorized the use of Novavax’s COVID vaccine as a primary series for adults 18 and over on Tuesday.

Driving the news: Walensky's endorsement of the CDC's panel recommendation makes the Novavax vaccine the fourth COVID shot authorized for use in the U.S.

  • Earlier Tuesday, the CDC Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices voted 12-0 to recommend the vaccine, removing a key hurdle for one of America's first big bets under Operation Warp Speed.

Background: Novavax won $1.6 billion in federal backing in 2020.

  • Its vaccine uses a protein from the target virus combined with what's called an adjuvant to enhance the body's immune response.
  • The FDA this month issued an emergency use authorization for the shot after a staff review found it was 90% effective at preventing new cases in a clinical trial, though it carried the possible risk of causing heart inflammation in some patients.

Go deeper: Regulators believe Novavax represents a non-mRNA COVID vaccine that can serve as a first-line defense and persuade some unvaccinated people to get the shots.

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