It didn’t take long for the debate over COVID-19 vaccines to break down along partisan battle lines. But even with vaccine skeptics having dug in their heels, Novavax EVP, chief commercial officer and chief business officer John Trizzino hasn’t abandoned hope.
That optimism is reflected in today’s launch of a pair of unbranded vaccine education programs, “We Do Vaccines” and “Know Our Vax.” The former conveys a wealth of information about common types of vaccines and how they’re tested, while the latter focuses on Novavax’s own efforts and technology.
“There’s nothing like this moment in the history of vaccines, where the medical world, the scientific world and the consumer are so familiar with COVID and can talk in specifics about what it is and about the variants that are circulating,” Trizzino said. “Never have people been so aware of the differences between vaccines – and they are sensitive to what these differences are.”
Even as “I did my own research” has become a loaded phrase, Novavax made a conscious choice to meet consumers where they are. This respectful approach toward winning their trust is mirrored in the imagery being used for both campaigns. At one end of a table, researchers sit in white coats amid notepads and a microscope (“we focus on this”). At the other end, four people sit casually around a dinner table (“so you can focus on that”).
Trizzino acknowledged that a central campaign aim is to get consumers to think of Novavax as a company they can trust. The company’s COVID-19 and COVID/seasonal influenza combination vaccines are under review by regulatory agencies worldwide.
“Compared to earlier pandemics, another element that is different with COVID is how people refer to the vaccines: the Pfizer vaccine, the Moderna vaccine, the Novavax vaccine,” he explained. “The intent of this campaign is to build confidence and comfort in Novavax’s experience with vaccines.”
Trizzino also noted the country’s resistance to accepting its murky pandemic future.
“COVID is not going away,” he said plainly. “We are going to be living with a COVID virus or variant for years to come and it is okay that there is an ongoing need for boosters. We have gotten used to that with influenza.”
Asked what comes next for Novavax, Trizzino chose instead to reflect on the remarkable achievements – both within and beyond Novavax’s walls.
“The scientific community and the vaccine community responded to the worst pandemic in modern history in an incredibly short period of time .Only two years passed from when the pandemic became serious to getting effective vaccines on the market,” he said. “And ours is coming on the market now, which we think will be an ongoing solution to keeping this vaccine at bay.”