Bivalent COVID-19 Boosters FAQ

Last updated: September 14, 2022

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What is a bivalent COVID-19 booster?

Up to now, COVID-19 vaccines have targeted the original COVID-19 strain. As we know, COVID-19 variants have made the vaccines a little less effective over time. The new bivalent vaccine provides protection against both the original strain and the new Omicron BA.4/BA.5 variants. This provides broader protection against COVID-19 and is just like what happens with the flu vaccine every year.

 

What bivalent COVID-19 vaccine boosters have been recommended?

The CDC has recommended bivalent formulations of the Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccines.

The Moderna COVID-19 vaccine, bivalent is authorized for use as a single booster dose in individuals 18 years of age and older.

The Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine, bivalent is authorized for use as a single booster dose in individuals 12 years of age and older.

 

Is the bivalent COVID-19 booster safe?

The basic ingredients used in both the Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech bivalent boosters are the same as the original monovalent vaccine. Testing by Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech of their original monovalent vaccines showed that the vaccines were safe. In reviewing the bivalent boosters, the FDA concluded that small changes in the vaccine target shouldn’t change the safety profile, in line with what is done with the flu vaccine.

 

Who is eligible for the bivalent COVID-19 booster?

Anyone 12 and older who had their primary vaccine series or last booster more than 2 months ago is eligible for the bivalent booster. The bivalent booster can’t be used for the primary vaccine series. Those aged 5 to 11 who have completed the primary vaccine series should get boosted 5 months after their most recent dose with the original vaccine. Children ages 6 months to 4 years are currently not authorized for any COVID-19 booster doses.

 

Will the new booster shots prevent COVID-19 infections completely?

The bivalent booster should be more effective at preventing COVID-19 symptoms and the severe effects of COVID-19 than the original vaccine. But some people will still get and transmit COVID-19 even if they are vaccinated.

 

Are we allowed to mix and match vaccines for booster shots?  

Individuals 18 years of age and older are only able to mix and match vaccines for booster shots. Talk with your health care provider if you have any questions about your booster shot.

 

What does it mean to be up-to-date on COVID-19 vaccinations?

You have completed a COVID-19 vaccine primary series and received the most recent booster dose recommended for you by CDC based on age, the vaccine you first received and time since the last dose.

 

Am I still able to get a first dose or second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine?

Vaccination is the leading public health prevention strategy to end the COVID-19 pandemic and continues to be our priority. The pharmacies and doctor’s offices still have many opportunities for you to get vaccinated. Please click here to schedule your first or second dose today!

 

Can I get my bivalent COVID-19 booster and my flu shot at the same time?

Yes! Currently the CDC and ACIP recommend that if a person is eligible, both influenza and COVID-19 vaccines can be administered at the same visit, without regard to timing. If you have concerns about getting both vaccines at the same time, speak with a health care provider.

 

Where can I get the bivalent booster?

You can get the bivalent booster at the Department of Health by visiting www.aacounty.org/covidvax, pharmacies or from your health care provider.

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