PORTSMOUTH, Va. (WAVY) — A fourth vaccine option will soon be available for Virginians.

Novavax’s COVID-19 vaccine is approved by both the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Food Drug Administration (FDA).

The 2-dose Novavax vaccine is approved for adults. The vaccine is not yet available as a booster shot. Novavax is different from Moderna and Pfizer mRNA vaccines because it is a protein-based vaccine.

In a press release, the Virginia Department of Health (VDH) confirms it will receive 20,800 doses from the Biden-Harris administration.

Th release from Virginia State Vaccination Coordinator Doctor Christy Gray says, “The CDC estimates that between 26 million and 37 million adults haven’t gotten a single dose of any COVID-19 vaccine. If you’re in that group and have been waiting for a vaccine based on a different technology than those available now, we urge you to consider the two-dose Novavax COVID-19 vaccine.”

In regards to the new vaccine itself, the release continues by saying, “Novavax is safe and effective and uses technology commonly used for decades in vaccines such as those against hepatitis B and whooping cough (pertussis). VDH will be making it available to Virginians as soon as we are able to obtain it from the federal government, which should be the middle of next month.”

“A lot of people have been waiting on this vaccine,” Dr. Cynthia Gay with the University of North Carolina School of Medicine tells our sister station CBS17. “When you add up all those individuals across all the different cities and states and across the globe, you know, that’s a sizable chunk of people who now have another alternative if they need it.” 

Those who are still unvaccinated run the risk of serious illness and hospitalizations. As of Friday, VDH reports 744 Virginians are in the hospital.

“Vaccination rates in the United States are not really where we want them to be,” said Gay. “So, if we have another option for a vaccine that might encourage or allow some of those unvaccinated folks to get vaccinated, that would be great.”