GREENVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) – The Centers for Disease Control recently approved a new COVID-19 vaccine, one that local health officials reacted to with approval.

According to the CDC, around 22% of Americans have yet to get a coronavirus vaccine. Dr. Paul Cook with ECU Brody School of Medicine said the Novavax vaccine could change that.

There are 3.2 million doses of Novavax COVID vaccines which recently got recommended by the CDC to get shipped to the U.S. With Novavax approved for adults, it may encourage people to get vaccinated because it is a different type of vaccine.

“So it’s a more conventional vaccine, its efficacy rate is a little bit less but close to what the mRNA vaccines showed, somewhere around 90%. The other ones were around 94% effective,” said Dr. Paul Cook, professor of medicine and the chief of Infectious Diseases at ECU Brody School of Medicine.

According to the latest CDC report, Bertie County is the only county in Eastern North Carolina that’s at a medium risk for community spread of COVID-19 instead of high risk.

Federal health officials said the new coronavirus variants are more contagious than others and encourage those unvaccinated to get vaccinated.

“The vaccine is definitely worth getting, it’s just that it’s probably not going to prevent infection with the BA.5 variant, but it will likely prevent serious disease or death from BA.5,” said Cook.

Since the majority of ENC is at high risk and this is a more conventional type of vaccine, some health officials hope Novavax could help fill a gap in the vaccination push.

“If people are more comfortable with conventional vaccines, and they haven’t had the vaccine so far, go for it because this it is a conventional vaccine. It’s got the safety record of conventional vaccines. And if people are more comfortable with that, then I would say this is the time to get the vaccine,” said Cook.

The two-dose vaccine is recommended for adults 18 and older. Health officials aren’t sure when Novavax will be available in Pitt County, but are planning to advertise for it once it’s here.