The first protein-based COVID-19 vaccination product – Novavax – recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) following the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) emergency use authorization, is now available in the community at Washington County Health Department clinics.
Adults 18 and older interested in receiving the two-dose, primary series of vaccinations can find the list of available clinics on this website in the COVID-19 Vaccine Clinics section. Patients may walk in or register for a specific appointment time through the website or by calling 240-313-3456. There is no cost for the vaccinations.
“This vaccine uses a different technology than the previous three options the public has had when fighting COVID-19, meaning the actual protein made outside of the body is injected along with an immune stimulant to get a better immune response,” explains Dr. Diana Gaviria, deputy health officer at the Washington County Health Department. “All of the previous vaccines introduce a “genetic recipe” for the spike protein found in the coronavirus into our cells and then our own cells make the protein to which our immune system responds.”
Dr. Gaviria says the Novavax utilizes a much older technology for vaccine development, similar to those used for decades to combat diseases including hepatitis B, Human papillomavirus (HPV) and influenza.
“We believe that misinformation which circulated about the previous mRNA vaccine products from Pfizer and Moderna scared some people who then avoided getting the shots to help fight COVID-19, but perhaps this more commonly known kind of vaccine that Novavax now offers will bring more adults in to see us to get this incredibly important protection,” says Dr. Gaviria.
According to county and state statistics, Washington County’s positivity rate for COVID-19 is back up to 15% and there are still more than one-third of residents still not fully vaccinated against the virus.