Mar 2022: Nuvaxovid (Novavax's COVID-19 vaccine) approved for 18y and older


01 Mar 2022
Nuvaxovid vials

Please note: this is a news story and not clinical guidance


Approved for 18y and older

Nuvaxovid, the Novavax COVID-19 vaccine, has now been approved to be used as a primary vaccination course for people aged 18 and older in Aotearoa. (Pfizer continues to be the preferred vaccine.)

The first doses are expected to arrive in New Zealand later this month. Once the vaccine is available, people will be able to book in at a limited number of vaccination sites on bookmyvaccine.

Nuvaxovid is a protein-based COVID-19 vaccine (the first available in NZ), which can be used as a primary course with 2 doses, 3 weeks apart. If used with another COVID-19 vaccine, at least 4 weeks (28 days) interval is recommended.

Novavax has not applied to Medsafe for use of Nuvaxovid as a booster. (It could be prescribed 'off label' for this purpose.)


Novavax contains a non-infectious component on the surface of the Sars-CoV-2 virus, which induces a protective immune response when the body’s immune cells come into contact with it.


Common side effects after Nuvaxovid include injection site pain or tenderness; tiredness; headache; muscle or joint pain; generally feeling unwell. Most side effects are mild and go away within a few days.

Rare side effects include severe allergic reaction (eg, anaphylaxis). The vaccine has had limited take up around the world so information on rare side effects is limited.

People are observed for around 15 minutes post vaccination.

International use

Nuvaxovid has been approved for use in 38 countries, including Australia, European Union member states, Singapore and the United Kingdom as a primary course vaccine.


It can be stored at normal fridge temperatures (2C to 8C).

Efficacy against Omicron

Laboratory tests suggest that Nuvaxovid has efficacy against the Omicron strain, but real-world data from people vaccinated with Nuvaxovid is not available yet.




Last updated: 11 April 2023