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Novavax protein-based COVID-19 vaccine now recommended for unvaccinated Oregonians

woman gets novavax shot.jpg
National Institutes of Health
A volunteer receives the Novavax's COVID-19 vaccine in a PREVENT-19 Phase 3 clinical trial. The product is now approved and recommended for use in western U.S. states.

The Oregon Health Authority reports—at this point in the summer- COVID-19 transmission rates are at high levels. A new variant is now predominant and health officials insist vaccination remains the best protection. For the unvaccinated, a new and different immunization just received approval.

The subvariant BA.5 has gained a strong hold in the state. It’s highly transmissible with an ability to partially evade antibodies.

Still, State Epidemiologist Dr. Dean Sidelinger, said vaccine is what will keep you out of hospital. For the 3 out of ten Oregonians still unvaccinated, he describes a new option: Novavax.

sidelinger with ALS .PNG
Tiffany Eckert screenshot
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OHA press conference
Oregon Health Authority's Dr. Dean Sidelinger announces a new, MRNA-free, protein based COVID-19 vaccine by Novavax has been recommended by the Western States Scientific Review workgroup for use by people who are thus far unvaccinated.

“A two-dose vaccine that does not use MRNA technology like Moderna and Pfizer. It is also not a vector vaccine like the Johnson & Johnson product,” he said. “Novavax’s COVID-19 vaccine uses what’s known as protein technology where only parts of the virus are used to stimulate the human immune system.”

According to the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease, NVX-CoV2373 contains a stabilized form of the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein—a surface protein that facilitates entry to human cells. The approach for stabilizing the spike protein was invented by NIAID scientists and their collaborators. The spike proteins are organized in tiny protein particles called nanoparticles. The vaccine is formulated with a saponin‐based adjuvant. Saponins are naturally occurring compounds from soapbark trees. Adjuvants are sometimes added to vaccines to enhance immune responses.

On Tuesday, the Western States Scientific Safety Review work group recommended Novavax for people who have yet to receive any COVID-19 vaccines. The Western States Scientific Safety Review Workgroup was established by the Governors of California, Nevada, Oregon and Washington, to independently review and assess data on U.S. candidate COVID-19 vaccines and the processes of federal advisory committees and agencies considering approval of these vaccines prior to their introduction in the United States.

Supplies of Novavax COVID-19 vaccine doses are expected to arrive in Oregon in coming weeks.

Tiffany joined the KLCC News team in 2007. She studied journalism at the University of Missouri-Columbia and has worked in a variety of media including television and daily print news. For KLCC, Tiffany reports on health care, social justice and local/regional news. She has won awards from Oregon Associated Press, PRNDI, and Education Writers Association.