Larry A. Law
Novavax is marketed as a subunit protein-based technology (not mRNA). However, Dr. Meryl Nass, an internist working with the Children's Health Defense scientific advisory board and an expert on vaccine development, raised safety concerns with the inclusion of a unique adjuvant called Matrix-M. The adjuvant is the part of the vaccine serving as the antigen which provokes an immune response. Since subunit protein vaccines are not capable of creating an immune response by themselves, they rely on a strong adjuvant to do the job. Unfortunately, Novavax selected the toxic spike protein to serve this purpose.
Comparison with Pfizer and Moderna
The mRNA vaccines use a lipid nanoparticle to encapsulate the mRNA and usher it into the cell where they force the cell's own internal machinery to produce the spike protein. However, Novavax takes the shortcut by including the spike protein and presenting it to the cell already made. The Novavax vaccine does not contain polyethylene glycol (PEG) as Pfizer and Moderna vaccines do, so it is less likely to cause anaphylaxis (severe allergic reaction). But it is more likely to cause autoimmune disease. The spike protein is known to cause clotting issues in the blood, myocarditis in the heart and problems in surrounding tissue.
In addition, the manufacturing process involves the use of moth cells. Insect cells can grow proteins rapidly and create a nanotechnology version of the COVID-19 spike protein. However, issues involving vaccine purification are always a problem in the manufacturing process. How many insect or viral molecules are being injected into you when you receive the injection? These foreign entities can lay dormant or can activate later in ways we cannot foresee.
Johnson & Johnson Vaccine Comparison
SARS-CoV-2 virus encodes 29 proteins that could have been used by vaccine manufacturers. Unfortunately, NovaVax like Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson chose to target only the spike protein which has proven to be extremely toxic. Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 shot is a viral vector vaccine. It also causes cells to produce the spike protein, but differently than mRNA shots. It uses a virus called adenovirus which is common in respiratory infections. The DNA in the adenovirus is modified so that when it enters the cell, it causes the cell's own machinery to produce the spike protein. This is similar to Pfizer and Moderna but they use mRNA not DNA. In addition, the adenovirus is modified so it cannot replicate itself. The long name is replication-defective recombinant adenovirus vector vaccine. Novavax uses a previously synthesized spike protein and does not force the cell to make it but just supplies it.
Since Novavax offers no evidence of effectiveness against COVID variants currently in circulation, why would the unvaccinated choose to get vaccinated? A recent Kaiser Family Foundation poll documents that resistance to vaccination is growing. 17% report themselves as "definitely not" ever getting vaccinated against COVID-19. Given these concerns, it does not appear likely that President Biden's administration recent purchase of 3.2 million doses of the Novavax vaccine will prove to be a good bargain.