Frequently Asked Questions: Novavax COVID-19 vaccine

As of 21 February 2022, the Novavax COVID-19 vaccine is available for the primary course of COVID-19 vaccination in people aged 18 or older in Victoria. Please see below answers to your most asked questions about Novavax.

How is Novavax different from other COVID-19 vaccines?

Novavax is a protein vaccine. This vaccine uses the spike protein found on the surface of the coronavirus. The spike protein is made in cells in a laboratory.

After vaccination, the immune system produces an immune response against the spike protein. This is different from the mRNA vaccines (Pfizer and Moderna): mRNA vaccines provide instructions to the cell to make the spike protein rather than directly using the spike protein to produce an immune response.

Like all other approved COVID-19 vaccines in Australia, the Novavax vaccine does not contain any live virus and cannot give you COVID-19.

COVID-19 vaccines in Australia must pass lots of safety tests before they can be given to people. The Therapeutic Goods Administration is responsible for checking vaccine safety and approving vaccines for use in Australia.

Who is eligible for the Novavax vaccine?

Novavax vaccine can be used for the primary course of COVID-19 vaccination in people aged 18 or older. This means that most people will be able to receive the Novavax vaccine for their first and second dose. People who are severely immunocompromised can receive the Novavax vaccine for any of their three doses in their three-dose primary course.

When and where will the Novavax vaccine be available?

Novavax will begin to be available from 21 February across Victoria through:

  • some state-run vaccination centres (including Sandown Racecourse)
  • doctor’s clinics
  • pharmacies
  • Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services.

The Novavax vaccine will also be available for in-home appointments for anyone who needs to receive their first or second dose of a COVID-19 vaccine at home. An in-home appointment means a healthcare professional visits your home to give you a COVID-19 vaccine, with the whole process taking about 45 minutes. You can book an in-home appointment by calling the Coronavirus Hotline on 1800 675 398.

How many injections will I need?

Two doses of the vaccine are recommended, at least three weeks apart. The Novavax vaccine is not approved as a third dose (booster); however, it can be used for people who are severely immunocompromised as part of their three-dose primary course schedule.

Is the Novavax vaccine approved for vaccinating children?

Novavax vaccine is not currently approved for use for people under the age of 18.

What’s in the Novavax vaccine

Novavax is a protein-based vaccine, unlike Pfizer and Moderna which are mRNA vaccines. Novavax does not contain any live virus and it cannot give you COVID-19.

Is the vaccine safe for women who are pregnant or breastfeeding?

Novavax is safe for women who are pregnant or breastfeeding.

Is the vaccine safe for people who are severely immunocompromised?

Yes. Novavax can be used as part of the three-dose schedule required for people who are severely immunocompromised to complete their primary course.

Can I receive a Novavax vaccine for my second dose if I have received a different vaccine for my first dose?

This vaccine can be administered as part of a mixed vaccine

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