COVID-19 Vaccine (Subunit

Pediatric Medication

This information from Lexicomp® explains what you need to know about this medication, including what it’s used for, how to take it, its side effects, and when to call your healthcare provider.

Brand Names: US

Novavax COVID-19 Vaccine

Brand Names: Canada

Nuvaxovid XBB.1.5; Nuvaxovid [DSC]

What is this drug used for?

  • It is used to prevent COVID-19.

What do I need to tell the doctor BEFORE my child takes this drug?

  • If your child is allergic to this drug: any part of this drug (including polysorbate 80); or any other drugs, foods or substances (including polyethylene glycol). Tell the doctor about the allergy and what signs your child had.
  • If your child has COVID-19, has any symptoms that could be from COVID-19, is waiting to find out COVID-19 test results, or has recently had COVID-19.
  • If your child has an infection or an illness with a fever.
  • If your child has ever had certain heart problems (myocarditis, pericarditis).
  • If your child has ever had a health problem called multisystem inflammatory syndrome (MIS).
  • If your child has bleeding problems.
  • If your child is taking aspirin or a blood thinner.
  • If your child has had a different COVID-19 vaccine.
  • If your child has been exposed to someone who has COVID-19 within the past 14 days.
  • If your child has had a smallpox or monkeypox vaccine within the past 4 weeks.

This is not a list of all drugs or health problems that interact with this drug.

Tell the doctor and pharmacist about all of your child’s drugs (prescription or OTC, natural products, vitamins) and health problems. You must check to make sure that it is safe to give this drug with all of your child’s other drugs and health problems. Do not start, stop, or change the dose of any drug your child takes without checking with the doctor.

What are some things I need to know or do while my child takes this drug?

  • Tell all of your child’s health care providers that your child is taking this drug. This includes your child’s doctors, nurses, pharmacists, and dentists.
  • This vaccine cannot cause COVID-19.
  • Be sure you know how many doses of COVID-19 vaccine your child has had, how many your child will need, and if your child is able to get a booster dose. Talk with the doctor or pharmacist if you have any questions.
  • It is not known how long people who get this vaccine will be protected from COVID-19.
  • Like all vaccines, this vaccine may not fully protect all people who get it. If you have questions, talk with the doctor.
  • If your child has side effects after a dose, acetaminophen or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like ibuprofen or naproxen may help.
  • After getting the vaccine, have your child continue to do things that prevent the spread of COVID-19 as recommended by local public health officials. These include washing hands often, wearing a mask, staying at least 6 feet away from other people, and avoiding crowds.
  • If your child has a weak immune system or takes drugs that weaken the immune system, talk with the doctor. This vaccine may not work as well. Some people may need to get a COVID-19 vaccine again.
  • People who got this vaccine before or during a stem cell transplant or chimeric antigen receptor [CAR]-T therapy may need to get a COVID-19 vaccine again. If your child has had or is having one of these treatments, talk with the doctor.
  • This vaccine may affect syphilis test results. Tell all your child’s health care providers and lab workers if your child has gotten this vaccine in the past 5 months.

If your child is pregnant or breast-feeding a baby:

  • Talk with the doctor if your child is pregnant, becomes pregnant, or is breast-feeding a baby. You will need to talk about the benefits and risks to your child and the baby.

What are some side effects that I need to call my child’s doctor about right away?

WARNING/CAUTION: Even though it may be rare, some people may have very bad and sometimes deadly side effects when taking a drug. Tell your child’s doctor or get medical help right away if your child has any of the following signs or symptoms that may be related to a very bad side effect:

  • Signs of an allergic reaction, like rash; hives; itching; red, swollen, blistered, or peeling skin with or without fever; wheezing; tightness in the chest or throat; trouble breathing, swallowing, or talking; unusual hoarseness; or swelling of the mouth, face, lips, tongue, or throat.
  • Fast or slow heartbeat, shortness of breath, dizziness, passing out, severe upset stomach or throwing up, or stomach pain. These may be other signs of an allergic reaction or signs of another type of reaction.
  • A burning, numbness, or tingling feeling that is not normal.
  • Severe dizziness or passing out can happen after or sometimes before getting a vaccine. Tell your child’s doctor right away if your child feels dizzy.
  • Some heart problems have very rarely happened. Most of the time, signs started within 10 days after getting the vaccine. Signs may include chest pain, shortness of breath, or feeling like your heart is beating fast, fluttering, or pounding. Call the doctor right away if your child has any of these signs. If you have questions or concerns about this information, talk with the doctor.

What are some other side effects of this drug?

All drugs may cause side effects. However, many people have no side effects or only have minor side effects. Call your child’s doctor or get medical help if any of these side effects or any other side effects bother your child or do not go away:

  • Pain, redness, or swelling where the injection was given; headache; muscle or joint pain; fever of 100.4°F (38°C) or higher; chills; upset stomach or throwing up; swollen gland; or feeling tired or unwell. Most side effects have been mild to moderate.

These are not all of the side effects that may occur. If you have questions about side effects, call your child’s doctor. Call your child’s doctor for medical advice about side effects.

You may report side effects to your national health agency.

How is this drug best given?

Give this drug as ordered by your child’s doctor. Read all information given to you. Follow all instructions closely.

  • It is given as a shot into a muscle.
  • Your child will be watched closely while getting this drug and for some time after the dose. Talk with your child’s doctor.

What do I do if my child misses a dose?

  • Call the doctor to find out what to do. For the most protection, it is important that your child does not miss or skip doses.

How do I store and/or throw out this drug?

  • The injection will be given to your child in a healthcare setting. You will not store it at home.

General drug facts

  • If your child’s symptoms or health problems do not get better or if they become worse, call your child’s doctor.
  • Do not share your child’s drug with others and do not give anyone else’s drug to your child.
  • Keep all drugs in a safe place. Keep all drugs out of the reach of children and pets.
  • Throw away unused or expired drugs. Do not flush down a toilet or pour down a drain unless you are told to do so. Check with your pharmacist if you have questions about the best way to throw out drugs. There may be drug take-back programs in your area.
  • Some drugs may have another patient information leaflet. If you have any questions about this drug, please talk with your child’s doctor, nurse, pharmacist, or other health care provider.
  • If you think there has been an overdose, call your poison control center or get medical care right away. Be ready to tell or show what was taken, how much, and when it happened.

Additional Information

Vaccine information fact sheets give information to properly inform the adult receiving the vaccine or, in the case of a minor, the child’s parent or legal representative about the risks and benefits of each vaccine. Before vaccination, the provider is required to give a copy of the vaccine information fact sheet.

Consumer Information Use and Disclaimer

This generalized information is a limited summary of diagnosis, treatment, and/or medication information. It is not meant to be comprehensive and should be used as a tool to help the user understand and/or assess potential diagnostic and treatment options. It does NOT include all information about conditions, treatments, medications, side effects, or risks that may apply to a specific patient. It is not intended to be medical advice or a substitute for the medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment of a health care provider based on the health care provider’s examination and assessment of a patient’s specific and unique circumstances. Patients must speak with a health care provider for complete information about their health, medical questions, and treatment options, including any risks or benefits regarding use of medications. This information does not endorse any treatments or medications as safe, effective, or approved for treating a specific patient. UpToDate, Inc. and its affiliates disclaim any warranty or liability relating to this information or the use thereof. The use of this information is governed by the Terms of Use, available at

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Last Updated

Monday, December 12, 2022