Any thoughts on the Novavax vs Moderna / Pfizer vaccines? 

Based on what I've read, it seems like they have comparable efficacy, with the potential for less intense side effects from Novavax, so I'm leaning towards that one (having gotten Pfizer initially, then Moderna, which left me quite fatigued and mildly flu-ish for about a day each time).

Incidentally, my side effects were appreciably better when I got the flu vaccine separately -- it's possible that was just the initial series vs booster or something, but I definitely will be doing those separately this time around as well.

Comparable efficacy: 
- 10/6/23 Science article:
- 10/17/23 Lifehacker post:

Less intense side effects: 

8/29/23 Your Local Epidemiologist post

[Updated 11/7] 

However, for those who do have side effects, it looks like they might kick in later? The median onset of side effects is 2 days after the vaccination, according to the CDC.

The research above still stands in terms of frequency, but if the trajectory I experienced is a common pattern with Novavax but not with mRNA (haven't researched the latter), I'd have preferred the mRNA vaccines... would rather have gotten the side effects out of the way over the weekend as planned vs unpredictably at the start of a workweek...)

My anecdotal evidence: 

  • I had negligible side effects up till about 40 hours after getting the Novavax booster 
  • At that point, I started to feel enough fatigue and malaise that it was quite unpleasant to do work, as well as mild nausea / stomach discomfort. I napped most of the rest of the day, with some short stretches of work in between. Pepto Bismol addressed my stomach discomfort almost entirely, but I didn't really feel like eating anything for the rest of the day. I'd say the severity of these issues was perhaps a little better than what I experienced with the mRNA vaccines, but still in the ballpark - bad enough to keep me from doing anything fun / productive, and the mRNA side effects were not significantly more miserable.
  • I got extra sleep at night, and now (less than 24h after the side effects started), I am now feeling 80% back to normal.

How I got Novavax:

I went to

It claimed that the CVS near me had Novavax in stock, but when I got to CVS's site to book an appointment, it explicitly told me that the appt was for Pfizer, and to call them to switch to Novavax. When I called, they said they were out of Novavax and didn't know when they'd get it in again.

I then booked through Costco's website, which let me book an appointment for Novavax. When I called them, they confirmed they had it available. (I am pretty sure you don't need to be a Costco member to get vaccinated there -- at no point during the booking process did it say I needed to be -- but I ended up going with someone who is a member (so I could tack on some shopping after), so I'd suggest double-checking.

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