COVID-19 Vaccines

Information about the Bivalent COVID-19 Boosters

A message from Doug Waite, MD

Earlier this month, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) provided revised recommendations for using updated COVID-19 boosters from Pfizer and Moderna, also known as “bivalent boosters.”

The new booster formulations add mRNA for Omicron BA.4 and BA.5 spike proteins to the original vaccine composition This will help restore protection, which may have decreased since previous vaccination, by targeting the currently circulating and more transmissible and immune-evading variants of the virus.

Currently, the FDA and CDC have  approved a single, bivalent booster as follows:

  • Pfizer-BioNTech: for those ages 12 and older
  • Moderna: for those ages 18 or older

FDA and CDC state individuals are eligible for a bivalent booster if at least two months have passed since they completed their primary vaccination series or received their most recent monovalent booster dose. The CDC is expected to offer updated recommendations for pediatric and other groups in the coming weeks.

All individuals in the approved age groups, especially those who are elderly, immunocompromised or have conditions that put them at greater risk from the complications of COVID-19 (e.g., diabetes, lung, kidney disease etc.), should consider receiving a bivalent booster dose to best protect themselves and to continue helping minimize the spread of COVID-19 in our communities and among vulnerable populations.

The bivalent vaccines cannot be used as an initial or primary vaccination course for COVID-19. Individuals who have not been previously vaccinated should follow the original two-dose schedule for their initial series.

Here is where you can find more information on the new bivalent. Retail pharmacies (e.g., CVS, Rite-Aid and Walgreens) have begun receiving doses, and you can schedule directly through their websites or apps.

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