Bivalent COVID-19 Boosters FAQ – Anne Arundel County Department of Health

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Last updated: October 28, 2022
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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.
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 6 years of age and older.
The Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine, bivalent is authorized for use as a single booster dose in individuals 5 years of age and older.
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.
Anyone 5 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. Children ages 6 months to 4 years are currently not authorized for any COVID-19 booster doses.
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.
Individuals 5 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.
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.
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!
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.
You can get the bivalent booster at the Department of Health by visiting, pharmacies or from your health care provider.
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