The COVID-19 vaccine Novavax

The Novavax vaccine is effective against illness due to coronavirus. Just like other approved corona vaccines.

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. Research shows that the updated Novavax vaccine is 60-90% effective at preventing illness due to coronavirus. You may still get coronavirus after you are vaccinated, but you will have milder symptoms. The vaccine offers good protection against severe illness requiring hospital admission.

Novavax has adapted its vaccine to protect against XBB variants.

Who is the Novavax vaccine for?

People who cannot or do not wish to be vaccinated with an mRNA vaccine can opt for the Novavax protein-based vaccine.

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.

Novavax and pregnancy

There is limited data on Novavax vaccinations during pregnancy. Novavax can be offered to pregnant women when vaccination with an mRNA vaccine is not possible. 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 and similar to the side effects of mRNA vaccines. In rare cases, inflammation of the heart muscle (myocarditis) and the pericardium (pericarditis) may occur after vaccination. The chance of this happening is very small for both the Novavax and mRNA vaccines.

Reporting side effects

The vaccine has been tested on thousands of people. Even so, side effects may occur in rare cases. They may also occur some time after vaccination. Vaccine producers are required to provide the European Medicines Agency (EMA) with a monthly report on vaccine safety. Any suspected serious side effects must be reported immediately.

If you suffer a mild or serious side effect, please report this to the Netherlands Pharmacovigilance Centre Lareb (in Dutch).

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.

These websites give you information about

  • what the vaccine is for
  • how the municipal health service or doctor should administer the vaccine
  •  when you should not use this vaccine
  • when you need to take extra care using this vaccine
  • what the possible side effects are
  • what the ingredients of the vaccine are