Novavax vaccine for COVID-19 now available in Michigan

Photo of Angela Mulka
FILE - In the image, vials of freshly manufactured Novavax COVID-19 vaccines wait to be labeled in Pune, India. The U.S. got another COVID-19 vaccine choice on July 13, 2022, when the Food and Drug Administration cleared Novavax shots for adults.

FILE - In the image, vials of freshly manufactured Novavax COVID-19 vaccines wait to be labeled in Pune, India. The U.S. got another COVID-19 vaccine choice on July 13, 2022, when the Food and Drug Administration cleared Novavax shots for adults.

Photo provided/Serum Institute of India for Novavax/AP

Michigan residents ages 18 and older have a fourth COVID-19 vaccine option called Novavax to help protect them from serious illness and death due to the virus.

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services announced that a limited number of doses of Novavax shots will be distributed in the state and not all providers are expected to carry it in a press release on Thursday. About 100,000 doses are set to be available statewide for order by vaccine providers. To locate providers offering Novavax, visit vaccines.gov.

"Having multiple types of vaccine offers more options and flexibility for people receiving COVID-19 vaccines," Natasha Bagdasarian, the chief medical executive for MDHHS said in the release. "COVID-19 vaccines remain our best defense against the virus, helping prevent serious illness and death."

"We continue to urge Michiganders who have not yet been vaccinated to get the vaccine as soon as possible." Bagdasarian continued. To date, over 6.7 million Michiganders ages 5 and up have gotten at least their first dose of COVID-19 vaccines.

The United States Food and Drug Administration issued an emergency use authorization on July 13, 2022, for the Novavax COVID-19 vaccine, according to the release. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices also recommended and endorsed the shot.

The vaccine was found to be 90% effective against mild, moderate and severe COVID-19 disease in the company’s Phase 3 trial involving 30,000 participants ages 18 and older, according to an FDA summary. But, the study was conducted before the circulation of Delta and Omicron variants, so its efficacy against Omicron and its subvariants is unknown.

Novavax makes a more traditional type of shot than the three other COVID-19 vaccines available for use in the U.S. And one that’s already available in 40 other countries, including Canada, according to Yale Medicine in a press release on Novavax.

"Novavax is actually made out of a spike protein," said Dr. Mark Hamed, who is a medical director for eight Michigan counties. "So with mRNA, your body is getting instructions to make a protein reaction. But if you give it the protein itself, the spike protein, your body generates its own response. It's kind of the old-fashioned way of doing things. We've had it with other vaccines, with shingles. It has been tested and true for many decades already."

More than 30% of Americans are not fully vaccinated against COVID-19, according to Yale Medicine Nephrologist and Epidemiologist F. Perry Wilson in a statement. Experts expect at least some of them will want Novavax — a protein-based vaccine.

"For someone who was on the fence and wanted a more traditional vaccine, this might be it," Hamed said.

The Biden Administration bought 3.2 million doses, according to reporting by the Associated Press. Before shots could be distributed, U.S. health officials were required to recommend how they should be used. Novavax CEO Stanley Erck predicted the vaccines would be in the arms of Americans by the end of July in a statement on July 13 when the FDA cleared Novavax for adults.

For more information about COVID-19 in Michigan, visit Michigan.gov/coronavirus.

Dr. Mark Hamed is the medical director of eight Michigan counties: Huron, Lapeer, Sanilac, Tuscola, Alcona, Iosco, Ogemaw and Oscoda. He was appointed by Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer to the State Board of Medicine at the start of 2022.