FDA approves new COVID-19 vaccine


MCT Campus

Vaccines are available to people in several different locations statewide.

Nicole Hayek, Editor-in-Chief

San Diego Mesa College held a forum informing its students on the new COVID-19 Novavax vaccine, on Sept. 14. Dr. Wong, the speaker at the forum, provided useful information to the students of Mesa about the continuing pandemic, and the new Omicron booster. 

For the past three years, many different variants of COVID-19 have posed a threat to people. However, currently, as Wong discussed, the Omicron BA.5 Subvariant is responsible for approximately 88.6% of new cases in the United States. During these three years, society has been in an ongoing battle with the new COVID-19 disease which, according to Wong, continues to infect 70,000 people, as well as kill 300 people, daily. Since the start of COVID-19, there have been FDA-approved vaccines offered to the people of the United States, including the original Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, as well as the Moderna vaccine. 

In July of 2022, the FDA authorized a new COVID-19 vaccine that they are recommending for anyone 12 years or older, which is the Novavax vaccine. This vaccine has already been used under different names, such as Novaxovid and Covovax, in 40 countries. “The Novavax vaccine has been found to be 90% effective against mild, moderate, and severe disease in phase 3 clinical trials that occurred prior to the Delta and Omicron variants circulating,” says Wong. The Novavax is a traditional vaccine, with similarities to tetanus and hepatitis shots, seeing as it uses a protein to develop an immune response. Used in the Novavax vaccine is the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein, as well as Matrix-M-adjuvant which is an immune system stimulant. As a primary series, Novavax is given in two doses, 3-8 weeks apart. Novavax can also be used as a booster and mixed with other vaccines after the primary series is over. This means that if you, or someone you know, has gotten the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines, they are eligible for the Novavax as a booster shot. According to Yale Medicine, “Novavax says it expects to have an updated shot in 2023 but says its booster does provide protection against several strains, including BA. 5.” 

Booster shots have been made for both the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, as well as the Moderna vaccine, leaving anyone over the age of 18 eligible to get the Moderna booster and anyone over the age of 12 eligible for the Pfizer-BioNTech booster. It is strongly recommended, for everyone who is permitted, to get the booster shots in order to prevent the risk of infection, or even death. The FDA is no longer allowing the mRNA COVID-19 vaccines as boosters, but if one has not yet received their first vaccine, the original formulation from 2020 will be the primary series.  

Mesa College is only requiring students taking Nursing and CNA classes, or Allied Health classes to be vaccinated. For all other students, it is not a requirement, but a strong suggestion. The global pandemic society continues to endure has shown no signs of ending in the foreseen future, so it is important that people everywhere stay caught up on their vaccinations, and take preventative measures to stop the spread of COVID-19. Mesa is not currently providing vaccinations for students, but the Novavax vaccine is available through primary care physicians. Local pharmacies, such as CVS and Walgreens, are also providing COVID-19 vaccinations.