While select groups of Iowans are now getting COVID-19 vaccines developed by either Pfizer or Moderna, a third company’s vaccine is now going into the third phase of testing in Omaha/Council Bluffs.
Dr. Diana Florescu, an infectious diseases specialist at the University of Nebraska Medical Center, says they’re grateful and excited to be chosen as a site for this important work. Dr. Florescu says, “Our hope is that this vaccine will prevent people from developing severe disease and decrease the chances of being hospitalized or dying.”
The investigational vaccine was developed by Novavax, a biotechnology company headquartered in Maryland. The Omaha-based hospital plans to enroll up to one-thousand study participants from Nebraska and Iowa.
“We encourage individuals who won’t be receiving the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines in the next three to six months to consider enrolling in the clinical trial,” Florescu says. “Participants in the Novavax vaccine clinical trial can still receive the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines when it is available to them and still remain in the trial.”
The Novavax vaccine is protein-based and an added component is designed to boost a person’s immune response to stimulate higher levels of antibodies. “Like everyone else, we want to beat this pandemic. To do so, we need multiple, safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines,” Florescu says. “We also want to involve the most vulnerable communities: minorities, people over the age of 65, and those with other health conditions.”
The vaccine does not contain live or inactivated virus, she says, so it does not cause infection. It requires two shots to be given three weeks apart.
For more information, visit: unmc.edu/covidvaccinetrial