The Novavax COVID-19 subunit vaccine uses small pieces of the virus (the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein). This is an older, more “traditional” type of vaccine technology that has been used for other diseases, including hepatitis B, human papillomavirus (HPV), and the tetanus toxoid and diphtheria toxoid vaccines, which are part of the childhood vaccines series. The Novavax vaccine does not contain any mRNA, which is the main component of the Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines.
Novavax is a 2-dose series for adults ages 18 and up. For immunocompetent individuals over 18, dose 2 is given 3-8 weeks after the first dose. For those who are moderately or severely immunocompromised, dose 2 is given 3 weeks after the first dose. The Novavax vaccine is not currently approved as a booster dose.
The Novavax COVID-19 Vaccine contains a recombinant form of the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein produced from baculovirus infected Sf9 (fall armyworm) insect cells and MatrixMTM adjuvant containing saponins derived from the soapbark tree (Quillaja saponaria Molina). Other ingredients include cholesterol, phosphatidylcholine, potassium dihydrogen phosphate, potassium chloride, disodium hydrogen phosphate dihydrate, sodium chloride, disodium hydrogen phosphate heptahydrate, sodium dihydrogen phosphate monohydrate, polysorbate 80, and water for injection. The vaccine may also contain small amounts of baculovirus and insect cell proteins and DNA.