The U.S. is now entering its fourth season with COVID, and the new vaccination roll-out has begun, including the option of the highly anticipated Novavax protein-based vaccine.
To supplement the rollout of its COVID vaccine, on October 10, Novavax launched its Choose to Protect Campaign, dedicated to providing patients with information and relevant options for the vaccine with the goal to drive vaccination rates in the U.S. and abroad.
Benefits of a protein-based vaccine
The Novavax COVID vaccine is now available on the market as a non-MRA, protein-based option. This is exciting news given the historical significance of this technology.
Since the 1980s, protein-based vaccines have been a part of the vaccination industry and have an established safety profile. These vaccines incorporate protein fragments of viruses that are specifically chosen for their ability to activate the immune system without causing disease. Following vaccine injection, the immune system recognizes the protein as foreign and a memory of the virus is then acquired. The immune system will then create antibodies directed toward this memory so if viral exposure occurs in the future, it will properly respond to prevent infection.
Novavax has a long history in the realm of infectious disease and has been committed to vaccine development since before the pandemic, making a pivotal switch to develop their COVID vaccine in order to contribute their technological platform for the greater good.
Novavax’s campaign to increase vaccination rates
There has been an insight-driven momentum occurring within Novavax, explained Silvia Taylor, Executive VP and Chief Corporate Affairs and Advocacy Officer for Novavax, in an interview with Bio.News.
Over the course of the pandemic, she said, there was a realization that the general public needed access to information, given the emergence of vaccine fatigue. It was their belief that people who were educated about vaccines, as well as provided with choices and actionable options, were more likely to become vaccinated.
Novavax’s focus for their campaign began with public education of vaccine information: what was on their minds, what exactly did they need to know, and what motivated them to take action?
To do that, they partnered with Harris Poll and a leading advocacy organization called HealthyWomen. As a result, they were able to confirm that women, ages 45-64, are more likely to be the decision-makers in their families. This group of women felt a sense of responsibility for educating themselves and understanding their options in order to make the best decisions for their families and communities. According to their research data, over 80% of women understood that vaccines are absolutely essential. And over 85% expressed their desire for a range of vaccination options.
Novavax understood early on that with the market being what it is now for existing vaccinations, the idea of mRNA versus protein-based varieties undoubtedly requires more information to be made public. Not only that, but meaningful and reliable information must be distributed through trusted messengers, whether they be healthcare providers, pharmacists, or celebrities.
Thus, the idea for their Choose to Protect campaign was born.
Choose to Protect
To reach its goals, the Choose to Protect campaign has partnered with HealthyWomen advocate and actor, influencer, and mother Nicole Ari Parker. Dr. Jose Torradas has also joined the campaign as a spokesperson. As an Emergency Physician, he provides the necessary scientific and technical information to the campaign, allowing the team to reach a broader population that would normally lack communication or trust.
“As a wife, mother, and daughter of parents in their 80s, I feel great responsibility to be informed, talk with our doctors and ensure the whole family is up to date on vaccinations, particularly given how easily COVID spread through our households last year,” said Nicole Ari Parker. “I hope that others will join me in choosing to protect ourselves and our loved ones this season so that we can all feel protected as we go to work, spend time with family and friends, and go about our everyday lives.”
The diversity within this campaign was important to us, says Taylor.
Given only two out of five survey respondents reported knowledge of existing vaccines, the campaign focused on educating the public on the importance of semiannual COVID vaccination and providing information on the specific options available. The concept behind the campaign is that the public has a choice when it comes to getting vaccinated and a choice regarding which vaccine to get.
As Taylor explains, “When we talk about vaccines, we are addressing prevention. First and foremost, vaccines must be safe, then effective.” The campaign’s foundational approach has been to consider each population separately in order to determine who to speak with and how to deliver the most impactful message in a meaningful way.
‘Speak to people where they are’
You have to speak to people where they are, says Taylor. As such, Novavax aims to speak with those who understand the need for vaccination and are interested in the research that is available.
Within their poll, 82% of people say vaccines are important in general. Novavax is reassured by these results and feels confident that they are focused on the right population, who are open to actionable options.
There is an awareness that they are fighting an uphill battle against a population that has apathy and fatigue regarding the pandemic. But their message, based on updated information by the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC), is that the pandemic is not over. They are intent upon getting the message out that vaccinations are for you and your community, and for everyone around you who is at risk.
What continues to drive Novavax and what is at the core of who they are, is their genuine concern and accountability for quality public health and education. They have a sincere philosophy based on extending credit to everyone that has been involved in the process of ensuring their vaccine is both safe and effective. And their Choose to Protect campaign is just another example of how they are doing the leg work needed to keep patients, communities, and families safe.