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Bivalent COVID-19 Booster Vaccines: What You Need to Know

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The COVID-19 pandemic has infected millions and claimed the lives of hundreds of thousands. Thankfully, scientific and medical experts are working tirelessly to develop new and improved treatments and vaccines that can help protect against the disease. But as the virus continues to evolve, your immunity may decrease over time. As a result, you may eventually lose some of the protection that the vaccine provides—that’s where bivalent shots come in.

A bivalent COVID-19 vaccine is basically an updated booster shot. It provides broad protection against COVID-19 and protects against variant COVID-19 strains like omicron. From safety to availability, here’s everything you need to know about the bivalent vaccine and how it provides enhanced protection against COVID-19 and its variants.

What is a bivalent vaccine?

A bivalent vaccine is a vaccine that targets two different strains of a virus. In the case of COVID-19, this means that the vaccine would target both the original strain of the virus and any variants that have emerged.

The original COVID-19 vaccines were very effective against the original strain of the virus. However, as the virus has mutated and new variants have emerged, these vaccines have become less effective. The bivalent vaccine was developed in response to these new variants. It is designed to provide enhanced protection against all strains of COVID-19, including variants like omicron.

What does the bivalent booster mean?

The bivalent COVID-19 vaccine, also known as “updated booster”, are designed to provide an additional boost of immunity against the virus, specifically for people who have already received a previous vaccine. This is because your original vaccine’s efficacy may decrease over time, and the booster shot will help increase your immunity and protect against the currently circulating omicron variant.

Bivalent vaccines contain two mRNA components, one from the original SARS-CoV-2 virus and one from a common lineage of the omicron variant. This allows the vaccine to protect against both strains of the virus. The bivalent vaccine is an important step in ensuring that people are protected against the ever-evolving coronavirus disease. 

Who are eligible for a bivalent covid booster shot

According to the FDA, more than 200 million Americans are eligible for a bivalent COVID-19 vaccine booster.  This includes people who have received a previous vaccine, as well as those who have been diagnosed with COVID-19. If you fall into either of these categories, you should talk to your doctor about getting the bivalent vaccine.

  • The bivalent Moderna vaccine is authorized as a single booster dose in individuals 18 years of age and older.
  • The bivalent Pfizer vaccine is authorized as a single booster dose in individuals 12 years of age and older.
  • Both are approved as a single booster dose at least 2 months following primary or booster vaccination.
  • The monovalent Pfizer vaccine remains authorized as a booster dose in 5–11-year-olds only.
  • The monovalent Moderna (ages 6 months and older) and Pfizer (ages 6 months and older) vaccines remain authorized for completion of the primary vaccine series.
  • A bivalent COVID-19 booster dose can be co-administered with other vaccines, including a flu shot.

When will bivalent covid vaccine be available?

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, bivalent boosters became available for people ages 12 and older over Labor Day weekend.  The vaccines are currently being administered through clinics, hospitals, and other healthcare providers. You can check with your local health department or provider to see if the bivalent COVID-19 booster is available in your area.

The CDC also recommends that people who have received a previous vaccine should get the bivalent vaccine as soon as it is available. The bivalent COVID-19 booster will help to protect you against the current circulating omicron variant and any future variants that may emerge. Getting vaccinated is one of the best ways to keep yourself and your community safe during the pandemic.

When should you get the bivalent COVID-19 booster?

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration authorized the use of bivalent formulations of the Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccines as a single booster dose at least two months after completing primary or booster vaccination.

The Moderna bivalent COVID-19 booster is authorized for use as a single booster dose in individuals 18 years of age and older, while the Pfizer-BioNTech bivalent COVID-19 booster vaccine is authorized for use as a single booster dose in individuals 12 years of age and older.

Is the bivalent COVID-19 booster safe?

Yes, the bivalent COVID-19 booster is safe. Although clinical trials in people have not been completed, health experts say there is no safety concern with the bivalent booster. Additionally, the vaccine is only authorized for use in people who have already received a previous vaccine. Despite limited data, health experts agree that the new boosters provide broader protection against omicron variants. 

As with any vaccine, there is a small risk of side effects. The most common side effects include pain and redness at the injection site, fever, chills, and fatigue. These side effects are typically mild and go away on their own within a few days. Serious side effects are very rare. If you experience any severe side effects after getting the bivalent COVID-19 booster, please seek medical attention immediately.

Where can eligible individuals get a bivalent COVID-19 booster in New York?

For eligible New Yorkers, the bivalent COVID-19 booster is currently available for free through clinics, hospitals, and other healthcare providers statewide. You can check with your local health department or provider to see if the bivalent vaccine is available in your area. Additionally, the New York State Department of Health has a list of vaccination sites that are open to eligible individuals.

As the world continues to grapple with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, getting vaccinated is one of the best ways to keep yourself and your community safe. The bivalent COVID-19 booster can help protect you against the current circulating omicron variant and any future variants that may emerge. 
Nao Medical locations have convenient hours and easy access so you can get vaccinated as soon as possible. Together we can help stop the spread of COVID-19 and protect our communities. Visit a Nao Medical location near you today to get vaccinated.

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