Novavax is gearing up for a robust marketing push to secure a share of the COVID-19 booster vaccine market this fall, aiming to offer an alternative to the dominant mRNA vaccines from Moderna and Pfizer. The Maryland-based biotech, which initially faced challenges in the COVID-19 vaccine race, has received a lifeline from external investments and recently obtained emergency use authorization for its updated XBB version of the COVID-19 vaccine. This positions Novavax to provide a protein-based alternative to the prevailing mRNA shots.
To succeed commercially, Novavax faces two key hurdles. Firstly, it must encourage as many Americans as possible to get vaccinated, especially when Pfizer anticipates only a 24% vaccination rate this season. Secondly, it needs to persuade individuals to choose its vaccine over the mRNA options.
In response to these challenges, Novavax has launched the “Choose to Protect” campaign. Silvia Taylor, Chief Corporate Affairs and Advocacy Officer for Novavax, explained the campaign’s name and approach, stating that “Choose to Protect” emphasizes the empowering aspect of choice. Taylor stressed the importance of offering a protein-based alternative, as research indicates that when people feel they have options, they are more likely to take action to protect themselves.
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To amplify this message, Novavax has enlisted the support of Nicole Ari Parker, a prominent Black actor known for her role in the “Sex and the City” sequel. Parker’s appeal lies in her status as a trusted and admired figure, particularly among those who seek information from relatable and influential voices. Taylor emphasized Parker’s platform, highlighting her roles as a mother and caregiver to her elderly parents as factors that make her a fitting spokesperson for the campaign.
As part of the “Choose to Protect” initiative, Parker has created a compelling two-minute video in which she shares her family’s approach to health and vaccination during the COVID-19 crisis. She underscores the importance of staying informed about public health issues and making informed decisions to safeguard one’s family. Parker’s relatable message resonates with the broader population.
Novavax’s strategic approach doesn’t stop there. The company has undertaken comprehensive research in collaboration with The Harris Poll and Healthy Women, focusing on women aged 45 to 64, whom they identify as key decision-makers. This research has revealed that people value having a range of vaccine options. Novavax is now poised to gauge how many individuals will opt for their vaccine in light of this informed choice.
In a competitive landscape dominated by mRNA vaccines, Novavax is determined to make a difference by providing a viable protein-based alternative. The “Choose to Protect” campaign, led by Nicole Ari Parker, aims to empower individuals to make the right choices for their health and protect their loved ones in these challenging times. Novavax’s commitment to offering options and fostering informed decisions marks a significant step toward achieving its goal.