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Novavax COVID vaccine now available in San Diego | What's different?

Doctors say Novavax uses a more traditional vaccine technology and doesn't use MRNA.

SAN DIEGO — The Novavax vaccine is now available in San Diego and is made using a traditional vaccine technology.

Unlike Modern or Pfizer, Novavax doesn't use MRNA technology.

"It's been used with Hepatitis B, with the human papilloma virus vaccine so I think people are used to this technology it's more tried and true," said infectious disease expert Dr. Peter Chin-Hong.

Novavax didn't cause severe side effects during clinical trials and was 90% effective against the virus.  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. 

Dr. Chin-Hong is hopeful this will help people feel more comfortable to get vaccinated.

"It's kind of an older fashion vaccine," he said. "You basically take the spike protein already made, chop it up into pieces and give it to the body."

Surveys have shown 20% of people, who are still not vaccinated, are expected to get this vaccine. Dr. Chin-Hong said its protection against new variants is similar to other COVID vaccines.

"The Novavax, Pfizer, Moderna are all working hard together to get an updated version for boosters. Like the other vaccines we should expect an updated version when the time comes for getting boosters with Novavax as well," he said.

Novavax is a two-dose vaccine and approved for anyone 18 years old and older.

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.

WATCH RELATED: Novavax: How does it work and how is it made? (June 2021).

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