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An independent expert panel recommended emergency use authorization yesterday for a COVID-19 vaccine manufactured by biotechnology firm Novavax. It would mark the fourth such vaccine available in the US, pending sign-off from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in the coming days.

Each COVID-19 vaccine works by priming the immune system to recognize and respond to the coronavirus spike protein. Shots from Pfizer and Moderna rely on relatively new mRNA technology (see 101), while Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine is delivered via a modified flu-like virus. Novavax relies on a more traditional method using the spike protein itself—an approach the company says may appeal to those wary of existing shots. 

Studies suggest the vaccine is 90% effective against pre-omicron variants, and its ability to protect against new strains has not been determined.

Around 67% of the US population has been fully vaccinated. See data on vaccine uptake here, and COVID-19 cases and deaths here.