Photo by Chris Stone
San Diego County residents will be able to get the Novavax COVID-19 vaccine as soon as this weekend, the county Health and Human Services Agency announced Friday.
Novavax, in use in other countries, is a more “traditional” vaccine, developed using protein-based technology, which the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has been using for decades to treat diseases such as hepatitis B, shingles, and human papillomavirus. The vaccine presents a specific portion of the virus that the body generates immunity against.
Novavax has been authorized as a two-dose primary series, given three to eight weeks apart, to people ages 18 and older. Clinical trials showed that the vaccine is 90% effective at preventing mild, moderate, and severe COVID-19.
“This is yet another vaccine we have to slow the spread of COVID-19, especially now that we’re seeing an increase in cases and hospitalizations,” said Dr. Cameron Kaiser, county deputy public health officer. “San Diegans now have another safe choice to prevent serious complications from COVID.”
According to the HHSA, clinical trials showed that Novavax does not cause severe side effects. Reactions were mild and like those rare effects seen from COVID-19 vaccines using the mRNA technology, such as pain, tenderness, redness, and swelling at the injection site.
Novavax is expected to be available at local healthcare providers, retail pharmacies, community clinics County public health centers, and community vaccination events.
The number of people hospitalized with a coronavirus infection in San Diego County increased by 13 to 450, but even that number has dropped by 15 since last week, according to the data released by the state Thursday.
As recently as Monday, 465 people in the county were hospitalized with COVID-19 — the most since late February.
ICU patients with COVID as of Thursday decreased by one to 47. There were three fewer hospital beds available Thursday, totaling 221.
The county Health and Human Services Agency reported 1,678 new infections and 10 deaths Thursday, increasing the county’s cumulative totals to 881,729 cases and 5,409 deaths.
San Diego County’s case rate per 100,000 residents 12 years of age and older is 54.35 for people fully vaccinated and boosted, 32.53 for fully vaccinated people, and 93.86 for not fully vaccinated San Diegans.
According to the county’s Health and Human Services Agency, lab-confirmed coronavirus cases remain near 10,000 per week, a number that does not include at-home tests. The HHSA also reported that it has also seen an increase in re-infections — San Diegans who have tested positive for COVID-19 several times throughout the pandemic. Prior infection does not necessarily prevent re-infection with some of the newer virus variants, according to national data.
More than 3 million or 89.9% of San Diegans age 6 months and older are at least partially vaccinated. More than 2.65 million or 79.3% are fully vaccinated. A total of 1,416,251 or 58% of 2,430,747 eligible San Diegans have received a booster.
–City News Service