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Santa Clara County to offer new Novavax COVID vaccine

Novavax shot uses 'traditional' technology that might appeal to those who haven't been vaccinated

A shipment of Novavax's COVID-19 vaccine. Courtesy Novavax.

Santa Clara County plans to make the newly approved Novavax COVID-19 vaccine available to the public once supplies arrive, the Public Health Department said in a statement on Wednesday.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention approved the use of the Novavax vaccine on Tuesday. The Novavax vaccine will be available as a two-shot series for adults, but it won't be available as a booster shot at this time, based on Food and Drug Administration approval, the county said. The FDA authorized the vaccine for emergency use on July 13.

The Novavax shot offers an alternative to the currently available Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines, which use an mRNA-based approach to developing immunity. Novavax's vaccine uses traditional protein-based technology. Both methods are "very safe and very effective" at preventing serious illness and death from COVID-19, the county said.

The Novavax vaccine also provides an alternative to the small percentage of people who are unable to receive an initial series with an mRNA vaccine due to a history of allergic reactions. About 91% of the county's population has received at least one shot of other vaccines, so the anticipated demand would be relatively small, the county said separately on Tuesday.

The Novavax vaccine also can be stored at standard refrigeration temperatures between 36 to 46 degrees; the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines require storage at subzero temperatures.

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"Adding the Novavax COVID-19 vaccine to our inventory adds another viable option to keep individuals, friends, families, and the general public protected against severe disease from COVID-19. Once the county has received and distributed the vaccine to our locations, its use can begin," Dr. Jennifer Tong, associate chief medical officer for Santa Clara Valley Medical Center, said in the county statement.

COVID-19 cases are still high in Santa Clara County; the current numbers don't include the many positive results from in-home tests. The county is measuring the prevalence of community infection through wastewater, where parts of the virus can be found.

"Wastewater levels are still significantly higher than during the Delta surge at this point last summer," the county said.

The virus can still be fatal. There are still anywhere from six to nine COVID-19 deaths each week in the county, according to local health officials.

The Public Health Department encourages everyone to check with their primary physician about receiving the initial COVID-19 vaccination series or a booster. Those without a primary health care provider or who are having difficulty finding an appointment can visit sccfreevax.org for assistance.

San Mateo County Health has not issued a public statement regarding its plans for distributing the Novavax vaccine. On Tuesday, a spokesperson said the Novavax vaccine is not available for ordering yet and health authorities are expecting additional updates from the California Department of Public Health following the CDC's actions.

"The many vaccinating entities in San Mateo County will be determining their respective plans, and we will consider what makes sense for our plans," the county said.

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Sue Dremann
 
Sue Dremann is a veteran journalist who joined the Palo Alto Weekly in 2001. She is a breaking news and general assignment reporter who also covers the regional environmental, health and crime beats. Read more >>

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Santa Clara County to offer new Novavax COVID vaccine

Novavax shot uses 'traditional' technology that might appeal to those who haven't been vaccinated

by / Palo Alto Weekly

Uploaded: Wed, Jul 20, 2022, 1:46 pm

Santa Clara County plans to make the newly approved Novavax COVID-19 vaccine available to the public once supplies arrive, the Public Health Department said in a statement on Wednesday.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention approved the use of the Novavax vaccine on Tuesday. The Novavax vaccine will be available as a two-shot series for adults, but it won't be available as a booster shot at this time, based on Food and Drug Administration approval, the county said. The FDA authorized the vaccine for emergency use on July 13.

The Novavax shot offers an alternative to the currently available Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines, which use an mRNA-based approach to developing immunity. Novavax's vaccine uses traditional protein-based technology. Both methods are "very safe and very effective" at preventing serious illness and death from COVID-19, the county said.

The Novavax vaccine also provides an alternative to the small percentage of people who are unable to receive an initial series with an mRNA vaccine due to a history of allergic reactions. About 91% of the county's population has received at least one shot of other vaccines, so the anticipated demand would be relatively small, the county said separately on Tuesday.

The Novavax vaccine also can be stored at standard refrigeration temperatures between 36 to 46 degrees; the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines require storage at subzero temperatures.

"Adding the Novavax COVID-19 vaccine to our inventory adds another viable option to keep individuals, friends, families, and the general public protected against severe disease from COVID-19. Once the county has received and distributed the vaccine to our locations, its use can begin," Dr. Jennifer Tong, associate chief medical officer for Santa Clara Valley Medical Center, said in the county statement.

COVID-19 cases are still high in Santa Clara County; the current numbers don't include the many positive results from in-home tests. The county is measuring the prevalence of community infection through wastewater, where parts of the virus can be found.

"Wastewater levels are still significantly higher than during the Delta surge at this point last summer," the county said.

The virus can still be fatal. There are still anywhere from six to nine COVID-19 deaths each week in the county, according to local health officials.

The Public Health Department encourages everyone to check with their primary physician about receiving the initial COVID-19 vaccination series or a booster. Those without a primary health care provider or who are having difficulty finding an appointment can visit sccfreevax.org for assistance.

San Mateo County Health has not issued a public statement regarding its plans for distributing the Novavax vaccine. On Tuesday, a spokesperson said the Novavax vaccine is not available for ordering yet and health authorities are expecting additional updates from the California Department of Public Health following the CDC's actions.

"The many vaccinating entities in San Mateo County will be determining their respective plans, and we will consider what makes sense for our plans," the county said.

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