What happened

Shares of Novavax (NVAX 9.46%) were plunging 30.8% lower at 10:54 a.m. ET on Tuesday. The steep decline came after the vaccine maker announced its second-quarter results following the market close on Monday.

Novavax reported Q2 revenue of $186 million, down nearly 38% year over year. This result was also well below the average analysts' estimate of $1.02 billion. The company posted a net loss in Q2 of $510 million, or $6.53 per share, compared to a net loss of $352.3 million, or $4.75 per share, in the prior-year period. The consensus estimate was for positive earnings in Q2 of $5.50 per share. 

To add insult to injury, Novavax cut its full-year revenue guidance in half. The company now projects revenue in 2022 of between $2 billion and $2.3 billion. It previously expected full-year revenue of between $4 billion and $5 billion.

So what

Novavax actually has made significant progress since the beginning of the second quarter. The company's COVID-19 vaccines are now authorized in 43 countries. Novavax finally won a long-awaited U.S. Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) in July. The vaccine stock even started to rebound nicely in mid-June.

But Novavax's dismal Q2 results and slashed full-year guidance highlight a major problem for the company. The current demand for COVID-19 vaccines simply isn't meeting expectations. This isn't just an issue for Novavax, but it's especially affecting the company because its vaccines are so much later to market than its rivals'.

Now what

Things could get better for Novavax next year. The company plans to file for U.S. authorization of its booster targeting the coronavirus omicron variant in the fourth quarter of 2022. Assuming that authorization is granted relatively quickly, Novavax could get a big sales boost in the first half of 2023.