JEFFERSON COUNTY, Colo. (KDVR) — A new vaccine against COVID-19 is now available in Jefferson County. Novavax’s vaccine was approved for emergency use in the U.S. last month and late Friday for teens.
The Jefferson County Public Health Clinic shared with FOX31 that they received 100 doses of the new vaccine last week and just started administering them on Monday. The Novavax vaccine is only for people who have not been vaccinated for COVID-19. It does not serve as a booster shot.
Although more manageable, COVID-19 is still spreading across the U.S. Researchers and scientists have not stopped working on treatments since the start of the pandemic in 2020. Biotechnology company Novavax has introduced its vaccine, which stands out from the rest.
Moderna and Pfizer are mRNA vaccines and Johnson & Johnson uses a disabled adenovirus, but Novavax is the first protein-based COVID-19 vaccine that’s been developed and administered.
Sarah Kuettel, the interim immunization supervisor at Jefferson County Public Health, said it’s more traditional and similar to other routine vaccines for ailments like pertussis, tetanus, shingles and hepatitis B. She said people have been waiting for Novavax and have already been calling the clinic.
“This one took a little longer to come out, but that doesn’t mean it’s any better or any worse than any other vaccine that we have out there,” Kuettel said. “It’s just a different type of vaccine.”
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Jefferson County Public Health is one of the first clinics in the state to announce it is offering Novavax for those who are unvaccinated against COVID-19. UCHealth participated in clinical trials for the vaccine but confirmed on Tuesday that the hospital system is not offering it right now.
The Novavax vaccine is a two-dose series that is spaced 3-8 weeks apart. Kuettel said although its makeup is different, similar short-term side effects are being reported like fatigue, sore arm and fever.
She added that some people have experienced a bad reaction to mRNA vaccines and can’t be vaccinated, so this offers another path of protection especially as flu season inches closer.
“Hopefully, we can address some of that vaccine hesitancy by offering a little bit more of a traditional style vaccine than we currently use,” Kuettel said. “It’s so important and our best line of defense.”
As for kids aged 12-17 years old, emergency-use authorization was approved by the Food and Drug Administration. However, Kuettel said they have not gotten the green light from Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, so right now teens can’t receive Novavax at the Jefferson County Public Health Clinic.
The clinic does offer walk-in appointments if you would like to get the Novavax vaccine or any of the other available vaccines.