The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) said Monday that the US government will get 3.2 million doses of Novavax Inc. COVID-19 vaccine once the shot has been authorized for emergency use.
Following authorization by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and a recommendation by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the vaccine will be made available for free.
In June, an FDA advisory panel voted to recommend that the agency authorize them for use in adults.
HHS said that the company is expected to complete all necessary quality testing in the next few weeks, which would support the final release of the COVID-19 product.
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“We remain committed to working to ensure that anyone eligible who wants a vaccine can get one,” HHS Coordination Operations and Response Element (H-CORE) COO Jason Roos said in a statement. “While more than two-thirds of the American public are already fully vaccinated, we must maintain a sense of urgency to ensure all eligible individuals get vaccinated, particularly heading into the fall. This latest vaccine would offer people another choice to help protect themselves from severe disease or hospitalization caused by COVID-19.”
Scientists are warning of another coronavirus wave this autumn, as omicron subvariants continue to infect.
Just 67% of Americans are “fully vaccinated” and even fewer have received booster doses.
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HHS noted that the Novavax COVID vaccine is designed and manufactured differently than the messenger RNA (mRNA) COVID-19 vaccines.
“The Novavax COVID-19 vaccine offers an option to individuals who may have an allergic reaction to mRNA vaccines or who have a personal preference for receiving a vaccine other than a mRNA-based vaccine,” it wrote.
The department noted that securing the vaccines leverages preexisting US government agreements with the company, including a July 2020 agreement for the development and demonstration of large-scale manufacturing of a SARS-CoV2 vaccine.
“The government will be taking delivery of COVID-19 vaccine doses manufactured using funds remaining on the existing agreement, pending completion of all quality testing,” it said.
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Novavax said that initial doses of the vaccine will be manufactured by its partner, Serum Institute of India.
The shot is already available in more than 40 countries.
Reuters contributed to this report.