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New Kind Of COVID-19 Vaccine Using Traditional Formula Gets Emergency Use Authorization By FDA

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) -- A new kind of COVID-19 vaccine is expected to be available soon. It's made with a traditional formula that doctors hope will persuade some hesitant Americans to finally get vaccinated.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is expected to clear the new vaccine in a week or two. With another COVID-19 surge moving across the country, doctors say it can't come soon enough.

Novavax is the newest COVID-19 vaccine to receive FDA authorization.

"The technology is actually the old technology," Penn Medicine Dr. Stephen Gluckman said.

Gluckman says Novavax is a traditional protein-based vaccine, like the flu shot, a piece of virus activates the immune system.

He says the hope is that the old technology will ease fears and motivate more people to get vaccinated.

Pfizer and Moderna use a newer mRNA technology that triggers a cellular immune response.

"The other vaccines are very safe," Gluckman said. "It's just that people for various reasons have been nervous about it"

A third of the country remains unvaccinated with just 67% being fully protected. The vaccines have significantly reduced the number of severe infections, but the virus is mutating and more contagious subvariants have caused a resurgence of infections.

"The virus continues to evolve very quickly," Dr. Ashish Jha, the White House COVID-19 Response Coordinator, said. "We have to constantly be updating our response."

The vaccines are currently being reformulated to include the subvariants. They won't be available for several months.

"The vaccine that we are going to have in the fall will be a substantial upgrade," Jha said, "but we'll see how it closely matches what is circulating at that moment."

What's circulating now has infected much of the country. The community spread map is a sea of red. The highest level includes Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware.

"There's fatigue, sore throat, headache," Dr. Leana Wen, a CNN medical analyst, said. "Anecdotally, we're seeing this more with B-5."

Health officials say the subvariants are spreading widely now partly because not enough people have received booster vaccines.

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