The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) endorsed an advisory committee’s recommendation that the Novavax COVID-19 vaccine be used as a primary series option for adults.
The move by the agency was the final hurdle after regulators authorized the first protein vaccine for emergency use last week.
The Novavax vaccine will be available in the coming weeks, providing what the CDC said would be a “more familiar type of COVID-19 vaccine technology.”
“We have expanded the options available to adults in the U.S. by recommending another safe and effective COVID-19 vaccine. If you have been waiting for a COVID-19 vaccine built on a different technology than those previously available, now is the time to join the millions of Americans who have been vaccinated,” CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said in a statement. “With COVID-19 cases on the rise again across parts of the country, vaccination is critical to help protect against the complications of severe COVID-19 disease.”
The CDC also noted that “protein subunit vaccines” combine harmless proteins of the coronavirus with an adjuvant that helps the immune system respond to COVID-19 in the future.
“Vaccines using protein subunits have been used for more than 30 years in the United States, beginning with the first licensed hepatitis B vaccine. Other protein subunit vaccines used in the United States today include those to protect against influenza and whooping cough (acellular pertussis),” the agency said.
In the U.S., CDC data shows more than 67% of the U.S. is fully vaccinated, or more than 222 million people.
In addition, 107 million people have a first booster dose and 19.3 million have gotten a second booster dose.
CDC officials say between 26 million and 37 million adults haven’t had a single dose, but it remains unclear how many people will be persuaded by a more conventional option.
The U.S. government has purchased 3.2 million doses of the Novavax vaccine, which is also used in other countries.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.