If you’re reading this, you fall into one of two categories: someone who’s not vaxxed with the mRNA vaccines by Pfizer and Moderna and is considering Novavax, or someone who’s already mRNA-vaxxed and wants to get Novavax to improve your protection against SARS2/COVID-19 (and this is specifically for my fellow Americans; I can’t speak for the situation in other countries).
If You’ve Never Been Vaccinated For COVID-19
This is the easy case: the FDA has approved Novavax as a primary series for anyone who hasn’t already been vaccinated for COVID-19. I HIGHLY RECOMMEND THIS IF YOU’RE NOT ALREADY VACCINATED! Novavax doesn’t use mRNA technology, but is instead a more “traditional” vaccine. So if you don’t like the idea of mRNA, this is a fantastic – I would argue your best – alternative (WAY better than the JNJ vaccine – sorry, JNJ!).
Any concerns you may have about the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines do NOT apply to Novavax. It’s in use in 40 (or more) countries, and was distributed late last year/early this year in many of them. This link gives a good overview of Novavax, and this Twitter thread has a lot of additional information. And, of course, there’s Google.
If you’ve waited this long, PLEASE CONSIDER GETTING NOVAVAX IF YOU’RE NOT ALREADY VACCINATED! No microchips, 5G signals, DNA, prehensile tails (sadly!), or anything else. It’s the same kind of vaccine (making a sweeping generalization) that you’ve had since you were born. Please get it!
If You’ve Already Had mRNA Vaccinations (Pfizer or Moderna)
This is the fun part! Ha-ha-ha. As of this writing (14 October 2022), the FDA hasn’t approved Novavax as a booster or follow-on series to the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines. So, technically speaking, you’re screwed.
However, since President Biden considers us “no ones” and has adopted a “you do you” approach to public health, field expedient solutions are emerging. But first…
CAVEAT: I am not advocating any course of action, and anything you’re about to read is at your own risk if you decide to take matters into your own hands. YOU ARE SOLELY RESPONSIBLE FOR ANY ACTION YOU MAY TAKE. Know that whatever you’re getting into is YOUR responsibility. I take zero responsibility for what YOU do, okay?
Alrighty then. Hypothetically speaking, there are some different options.
Option 1 (Best)
Call your doctor and ask if they’ll do an off-label prescription for Novavax either as a booster or a full series post-mRNA. You may find your GP has absolutely no clue and doesn’t want to take on that risk/responsibility. Feel free to call around and see if you can find one who’s more knowledgeable and willing to prescribe it. Also check with your local pharmacies – I’ve heard anecdotally that some may be willing to bend the rules (but I suspect they’re definitely in the minority).
Definitely explore this route FIRST. If you can get someone to legit prescribe it, that’s definitely the best way to go!
Option 2 (Field Expedient)
This is the situation most people now find themselves in: they’ve had mRNA vax and their doc and/or pharmacist say either “nope” or “I have no idea…so nope” or flat out “hell, no!”
WARNING: Taking this route will involve at least one lie, and probably more. Again, CAVEAT EMPTOR, know what you’re getting into. This is the DIY version of “we have the fucking tools.”
The key to Option 2 is whether you’re “in the system” – in other words, you need to find a Novavax vendor that doesn’t know about you.
For example, let’s say you got your mRNA vax at Drugstore A. You could call a Drugstore B across town and say, “Hey, I’ve lost my vax card [which ironically happened to me] and I’m trying to backtrack where I was vaccinated – it might have been there; could you check for me?”
If the answer from that Drugstore B is “yes, you’re in our system” (which is pretty unlikely if you got all your shots at Drugstore A), you’re going to have to try another distributor, because they’re not going to give you Novavax until/unless the FDA authorizes it as a booster (and you definitely won’t be able to get it as a follow-on series). So in this case, you’d have to try – let’s say – Discount Club A Pharmacy, or even the nearest public health clinic in another state (if you were inoculated by a state clinic; if not, try there).
But if their answer is, “No, you didn’t get it at a Drugstore B – you’re not in our system.” Booyahhh! THEN call the nearest Drugstore B that carries it (you can see who carries it at Vaccines.gov) and schedule an appointment for the primary Novavax series (or just a single does if you want it as a booster for the mRNA series – just don’t say that and skip out on the follow-on dose; but you really should think hard about getting it as a full series – just sayin’).
When you go, you may or may not have to produce ID – that largely depends on the state – but from what I’ve read, many places can’t turn you down if you don’t have any (or say you don’t have any; I think most of the healthcare workers in these situations don’t care much unless it’s a state requirement). The same for insurance: they may ask for it, but I don’t believe (depending on the state) they can turn you down if you don’t give them your insurance card (this is likely subject to change, depending on when the Biden administration fucks us over on this score as they move toward fully “commercializing” the pandemic response). And I think – but am NOT sure! – that they’ll still give it to you free if you’re uninsured (again, though, CHECK FIRST).
You’ll likely (again, depending on the place) have to fill out a consent/release form. If you’ve found a vendor that does NOT have you in the system, you can feel free to give them your actual info – there’s no reason not to, as you’ll be going back there for shot #2 and 3 (if you opt for the 6-8 month booster, AND if they’ll administer it – this is undiscovered country pour moi).
The one lie you’ll have to tell here is that you haven’t had any previous COVID-19 vaccinations. Again, to cover my own ass, I am NOT recommending this; I’m simply stating a fact. Otherwise they won’t give you Novavax. Derp.
Once you get the first shot, rejoice! You’ve taken a huge step toward improving your body’s defenses against SARS2/COVID-19, and you should be able to go to the same venue to get the second (and hopefully third) shot in the Novavax primary series + booster. Most importantly, get a decent band-aid: mine was an Avengers one! You do you, as post-vaccination bandaids are a very personal thing.
But don’t get cocky! Novavax doesn’t make you bulletproof and doesn’t give you permission to eat indoors at restaurants, dive into a concert mosh pit, or go visit grandma at the nursing home unmasked and potentially kill her. PLEASE still wear a mask and do all the other things to keep yourself and others safe. Novavax significantly improves your body’s defenses, but it’s not a force field that makes it okay for you to be a callous, thoughtless asshole, okay?
Good luck, my friend!