Since the CDC announced the approval of the updated COVID-19 booster in September 2022, we have received calls from our patients who wanted to know – should we get the updated COVID-19 booster vaccine? So here are our thoughts based on what we know today.
New Bivalent COVID-19 Booster
As a point of clarification, what do we mean by updated or new? The original boosters contained the SARS-CoV-2 strain only. The updated bivalent vaccine boosters contain both the original strain of SARS-CoV-2 and the omicron BA.4/5 variant. More on this in a bit.
But to answer the question raised by our patients, we do encourage all eligible adults and children to consider getting the new bivalent COVID-19 booster shot. Recognize though that there is not enough data available for us to make a firm recommendation. We think the bivalent vaccine is non-inferior to the existing vaccine. Data and time will inform us more.
About the Updated COVID-19 Booster
Here though, for your consideration, is the relevant summary of the information available to us:
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) director signed off on the updated boosters from Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech Thursday after they were recommended by the CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP).
The bivalent vaccine boosters contain both the original strain of SARS-CoV-2 and the omicron BA.4/5 variant. About 89% of circulating strains are BA.5, and nearly all the rest are BA.4, according to the CDC. Officials have been preparing for a possible surge this fall and winter as people spend more time indoors.
“The updated COVID-19 boosters are formulated to better protect against the most recently circulating COVID-19 variant,” CDC Director Rochelle P. Walensky, M.D., M.P.H., said in a press release. “They can help restore protection that has waned since previous vaccination and were designed to provide broader protection against newer variants. This recommendation followed a comprehensive scientific evaluation and robust scientific discussion.”
The Pfizer-BioNTech bivalent booster can be used for people ages 12 and older, while the Moderna bivalent booster can be used for those ages 18 and older. A bivalent booster can be given as a single dose at least two months after a primary series or booster with any authorized monovalent COVID-19 vaccine.
If you fall in the below-given eligibility criteria, then the CDC suggests you get yourself vaccinated with CDC bivalent COVID vaccine as early as possible.
Kindly remember CDC bivalent COVID vaccine is a booster shot, and you should be vaccinated with the primary series to receive it.
- Everyone above the age of 12 is eligible to receive Pfizer bivalent vaccine in the United States.
- Everyone above the age of 18 is eligible to receive Pfizer bivalent COVID vaccine.
- You must maintain at least a two months gap between your last dose of the COVID vaccine and the bivalent COVID vaccine.
- You must receive a primary series of COVID vaccines to receive CDC bivalent COVID vaccine.
We hope this is helpful but if you have questions or concerns based on your specific medical issues or needs, speak with your pediatrician or family doctor.