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Are Children the Solution to Novavax’s Vaccine Problem?

InvestorPlace’s Nicholas Chahine, one of our best investment analysts, recently argued that Novavax’s (NASDAQ:NVAX) window of opportunity was closing fast. If you own NVAX stock, that’s not what you want to hear after the company delayed filing a U.S. emergency use authorization (EUA) until the second quarter.  

Novavax (NVAX) logo surrounded by medical supplies

Source: Ascannio/

It’s been a while since I last wrote about the vaccine candidate — December 2020, to be exact. But when I last wrote about Novavax, I was still very optimistic about its chances of getting a spot at the Covid-19 vaccine table. 

However, recent vaccination stats have me wondering if my colleague isn’t right on the money.  

Canada Passing the U.S.

I get a free daily email newsletter called The Peak. While not affiliated, it’s like a Canadian version of Morning Brew. Anyway, they have a vaccine tracker section. Weeks ago, the gap between people in Canada who had gotten at least one vaccine shot with those in the U.S. was massive. You could drive an 18-wheeler through it. 

This morning, the U.S. was at 47.2%, just 100 basis points higher than Canada. Not surprisingly, CTV published an article on May 18 that said Canada’s Covid-19 vaccination rate was likely to surpass the U.S. that week.

Essentially, Canada has vaccinated 0.90% of the population each day over the past seven days compared to 0.22% in the U.S.   

“Two months ago, the U.S. had vaccinated three times the proportion of their population than Canada with a single dose, having vaccinated 22.03 per cent of their population on March 17. Canada reported having 7.4 per cent of its population vaccinated with a single dose that day,” the CTV article stated. 

Almost twice as many Americans have said they won’t get a shot compared to Canadians. Is it any wonder that the Canadian government is apprehensive about letting Americans into the country?

If the Canadian mindset were present in America, Novavax would be sitting in a much better position today. But at the moment, it appears that most adults who want a vaccine in the U.S. have gotten one. This leaves the 22% who definitely or probably aren’t going to get one and children under 18.

Children Under 18 the Key to NVAX Stock

Novavax announced in May that it will expand its Phase 3 clinical trial to include children aged 12 to 17. It will test up to 3,000 pediatric patients at 75 locations across the U.S. Each patient will get two doses of NVX-CoV2373 21 days apart. 

To date, the most important statistic obtained from Novavax’s earlier trials is that the vaccine is 100% effective at keeping patients out of the hospital and protected from severe disease. 

The New York Times reported earlier in May that only 9% of American adults who intend to get a shot haven’t done so. That was down from 30% in March.  This means that if the U.S. is to get anywhere near herd immunity, it will need to vaccinate younger people.

Unfortunately, it appears parents aren’t too eager to have their kids vaccinated. The same study suggested that only about 30% of parents will get their 12- to 15-year-old children vaccinated as soon as one becomes available. Another 23% won’t allow it.

Clearly, Americans have varied opinions on the subject. I can’t speak to their views on the vaccine, but I can share my opinion on how likely Novavax is to win any part of the Covid-19 vaccination program.

Plenty of Opportunities for NVAX Stock to Rise

As investors already know, Novavax has agreed to supply 110 million doses to the U.S. If there are no consenting adults left to give these doses to and vaccinations are opened for kids 17 and under, Novavax should be able to fulfill its agreement with the U.S. government.

If the U.S. can’t take them, there are plenty of countries outside the U.S. that would love to have Novavax’s vaccine. I’m sure the company could find another buyer — perhaps even a nation like Canada, whose citizens aren’t nearly as skeptical.

For this reason, I still hold out hope that Novavax will earn its namesake and become the developer of an actual vaccine. And it could be all because of children. In that case, the price of NVAX stock can climb back to $200 and beyond.

We’ll find out soon enough.

On the date of publication, Will Ashworth did not have (either directly or indirectly) any positions in the securities mentioned in this article. The opinions expressed in this article are those of the writer, subject to the Publishing Guidelines.

Will Ashworth has written about investments full-time since 2008. Publications where he’s appeared include InvestorPlace, The Motley Fool Canada, Investopedia, Kiplinger, and several others in both the U.S. and Canada. He particularly enjoys creating model portfolios that stand the test of time. He lives in Halifax, Nova Scotia.  

Article printed from InvestorPlace Media,

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