The FDA recently approved new COVID-19 bivalent booster vaccines to protect against the Omicron and BA.5 variants. These boosters are currently recommended for a large portion of the population ages 12 and up. Here is a rundown of the important information to know about these updated bivalent booster shots, whether you are eligible, and where to find them.
What Are the Bivalent Boosters?
These new COVID boosters are aimed at protecting against both the original strain of COVID-19 and the more recent variants. According to the FDA: “The bivalent COVID-19 vaccines include a component of the original virus strain to provide broad protection against COVID-19 and a component of the omicron variant to provide better protection against COVID-19 caused by the omicron variant. These are called bivalent COVID-19 vaccines because they contain these two components. A bivalent COVID-19 vaccine may also be referred to as “updated” COVID-19 vaccine booster dose.”
There are 2 COVID-19 Bivalent Vaccines available: Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech each have produced a single dose vaccine that is authorized for for use.
Who Is Eligible For These Vaccines?
Eligibility guidelines are different for each of the booster doses. Whether you are eligible for a booster shot depends on your age and when you most recently received a COVID-19 vaccine or booster. Below are the official FDA guidelines for who is eligible to receive a booster dose.
Individuals 18 years of age and older are eligible for a single booster dose of the Moderna COVID-19 Vaccine, Bivalent if it has been at least two months since they have completed primary vaccination or have received the most recent booster dose with any authorized or approved monovalent COVID-19 vaccine.
Individuals 12 years of age and older are eligible for a single booster dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine, Bivalent if it has been at least two months since they have completed primary vaccination or have received the most recent booster dose with any authorized or approved monovalent COVID-19 vaccine.
Are These Vaccines Safe and Effective?
Yes, the new bivalent COVID-19 boosters are both considered to be safe and effective ways to prevent illness from the COVID-19 variants. Extensive research was conducted on both the Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech updated boosters before they were approved for use. The evidence suggests these vaccines are safe to take, and seem to provide increased protection against the currently circulating COVID-19 variants. These findings are based on extensive safety and effectiveness data for each of the monovalent mRNA COVID-19 vaccines, safety and immunogenicity data obtained from a clinical study of a bivalent COVID-19 vaccine that contained mRNA from omicron variant BA.1 lineage that is similar to each of the vaccines being authorized, and nonclinical data obtained using a bivalent COVID-19 vaccine that contained mRNA of the original strain and mRNA in common between the BA.4 and BA.5 lineages of the omicron variant. (Source: FDA).
Where Can I Get My Bivalent Booster?
These booster shots are available at pharmacies and clinics across the country. To find locations to receive the booster shot across the country, you can use the CDC’s search tool. If you are located in or around Maricopa County, 911OccMed is offering these new Bivalent COVID-19 vaccines through our mobile clinic. You can contact us today to schedule a time for our mobile clinic to visit your business, community center, and more.