Novavax COVID-19 vaccine authorized by FDA and CDC based on clinical trial involving UI Health Care

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently authorized a fourth, more traditional type of COVID-19 vaccine for adults ages 18 and older. The new vaccine was developed by Novavax Inc., and Iowans played a role in providing the proof that the vaccine is safe and effective.

UI Health Care employees can receive a COVID-19 vaccine and booster free through the University Employee Health Clinic. Learn more.

The vaccine is administered in two doses, three weeks apart, and is not based on mRNA technology like the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines. Instead, the Novavax vaccine uses technology that is similar to more traditional vaccines, such as seasonal flu shots and routine childhood immunizations like whooping cough (pertussis).

UI Health Care researchers play part in developing vaccine

UI Health Care was a site for Novavax’s large multi-site Phase 3 trial. 150 Iowans participated in the study, which found that the vaccine has comparable efficacy to other currently authorized or approved vaccines and led to the FDA granting emergency use authorization.

“We are proud of the role we have played in developing safe and effective vaccines that stop the spread of COVID-19, including the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine and now the Novavax vaccine,” says Patricia Winokur, MD, executive dean of the Carver College of Medicine, and principal investigator for the UI trial site for both the Novavax vaccine and the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine. “I think this latest vaccine may be particularly helpful for people who are still hesitant to use the newer mRNA vaccines. The Novavax vaccine uses technology that is similar to more traditional vaccines, such as seasonal flu shots.”

The Novavax vaccine can also be stored at refrigerator temperatures, making it more appropriate for small clinical practices and other countries that don’t have the same infrastructure as the U.S.

“We are excited to have yet another safe and effective vaccine available to the public in a short period of time. The rapid development of these life-saving vaccines is thanks to decades of foundational research by scientists and researchers at academic medical centers like UI Health Care,” Winokur adds.

As a reminder, other COVID-19 vaccines are currently widely available in the community to all eligible individuals. For more information on the COVID-19 vaccines visit