The Covid-19 vaccine Novavax

The Novavax vaccine is effective against illness due to coronavirus. It offers 60-90% protection.

Protection and safety

According to the European Medicines Agency (EMA) and the Health Council of the Netherlands, the Novavax vaccine is safe for use in people aged 18 and over. The vaccine protects against illness due to coronavirus in 60-90% of cases.

Protein-based vaccine as an alternative to mRNA vaccine

On 23 December 2021, an advisory report on Novavax (information in Dutch) from the Health Council of the Netherlands stated that the Novavax vaccine is an alternative for people aged 18 and over who do not want to have either an mRNA vaccine (BioNTech/Pfizer and Moderna) or a vector vaccine (Astra Zeneca and Janssen). The government will therefore make this protein-based vaccine available to people aged 18 and over who have not yet been vaccinated because only mRNA vaccines are currently in use. As yet, little is known about the degree of protection offered by the Novavax vaccine against the Delta and Omicron variants of coronavirus.

Two doses are necessary

  • You will need 2 doses of the Novavax vaccine to be well protected.
  • There must be at least 3 weeks between the first and second doses.
  • You will have maximum protection 14 days after the second dose.

Making an appointment with the municipal health service (GGD)

If you choose to be vaccinated with the Novavax vaccine, you can make an appointment with the GGD by calling 0800 - 0174. Your choice to have Novavax is based on informed consent. This means that you have first thought very carefully about your choice to have the Novavax vaccine. A GGD staff member will ask you about this when you make the appointment. 

Repeat vaccination with Novavax for people aged 18 and over

On 1 September 2022 the European Medicines Agency (EMA) authorised the use of Novavax as a booster dose for people aged 18 and over. In the Netherlands, this is referred to as ‘repeat vaccination’. The Health Council of the Netherlands has concluded that the use of Novavax as a repeat vaccination is safe for people aged 18 and over.

You can get a repeat vaccination with Novavax  from 3 November 2022. Call 0800 - 0174 to make an appointment. 

Novavax and pregnancy

Novavax can be offered to pregnant women when vaccination with an mRNA vaccine is not possible. There is limited data on Novavax vaccinations during pregnancy. The National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM) advises all pregnant women to be vaccinated with an mRNA vaccine as soon as they receive an invitation. The Novavax vaccine is not an mRNA vaccine. See information on pregnancy and coronavirus vaccination.

Side effects of the Novavax vaccine

The side effects of the Novavax vaccine are usually mild. The vaccine was only developed a short time ago and has not yet been administered on a large scale. This is the reason that there is still very little data on rare or long-term side effects.

Package leaflet and information on the Novavax vaccine

For more information read the official package leaflet for the Novavax vaccine on the EMA website. On the Medicines Evaluation Board website you can find an explanation in plain English of the vaccine’s benefits and disadvantages.

Protein-based vaccine

Novavax is a protein subunit vaccine. This vaccine contains fragments of the coronavirus spike protein that have been engineered in a laboratory. It also contains a substance called an ‘adjuvant’ that strengthens the body’s immune response to this protein. When a person is given the vaccine, their body will react by producing antibodies against the protein fragments.

If, later on, you come into contact with coronavirus, your immune system will recognise the spike protein on the virus. Your immune system will stop the virus entering your body’s cells and replicating itself. This means the risk of illness and serious illness is smaller.

Spread of coronavirus after vaccination

If you are vaccinated the risk of becoming ill after being infected with coronavirus is much smaller. You are also less likely to pass the virus on to others.