Bivalent COVID-19 boosters are becoming available to Missourians with providers adding these boosters to their inventory next week.
On Sept. 1, CDC Director Dr. Rochelle P. Walensky endorsed the CDC Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices’ (ACIP) recommendations for use of updated COVID-19 boosters from Pfizer-BioNTech for people ages 12 years and older and from Moderna for people ages 18 years and older.
According to the Kansas City Health Department, COVID-19 vaccines already provided strong protection against hospitalization and death. This updated vaccine (a “bivalent” vaccine) offers more protection because it targets both the original COVID-19 strain and the currently circulating BA.4 and BA.5 omicron variants. These vaccines are more like the annual flu vaccines that target different flu strains.
The Moderna and Pfizer bivalent boosters both target two strains of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19 – the original strain of the virus and two of the Omicron subvariants (BA.4 and BA.5), which are currently the most widespread variants globally. Only individuals who have completed their primary vaccination series (two doses of Pfizer or Moderna or one dose of Johnson & Johnson) are eligible to receive the bivalent booster. Those who have recently received Novavax are not yet eligible for any booster at this time.
“We encourage those who are eligible to receive this new booster dose as it will greatly help protect individuals from the variant most commonly detected today and for the past several months,” said State Epidemiologist Dr. George Turabelidze with the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS). “As we head into the fall and winter months, this added protection becomes even more important since viruses generally tend to circulate at a more rapid pace during this time.”
In the coming weeks, CDC also expects to recommend updated COVID-19 boosters for other pediatric groups, per yesterday’s discussion and evaluation of the data by ACIP. When data is available and FDA authorizes these other types of COVID-19 boosters and CDC provides use recommendations, the CDC and DHSS will work to quickly make them available in Missouri with the help of COVID-19 vaccinators throughout the state.
If you have not been vaccinated or have not completed your primary series, visit MOStopsCovid.com to find a location offering vaccines. The original formulations of Pfizer, Moderna, J&J and Novavax will continue to be used. Booster doses use reduced amounts of the original vaccines.
Individuals are eligible for the bivalent booster two months after their last primary or booster dose of Pfizer, Moderna or Johnson & Johnson. These doses are not for primary-series vaccination. They are boosters for people who got their primary-series vaccinations or latest booster dose at least 2 months ago.
The previous monovalent booster will no longer be available to persons 12 and older; the FDA is removing authorization for those boosters to reduce provider confusion for staff administering vaccines. The Pfizer bivalent booster is currently authorized for ages 12 and older while Moderna’s is currently authorized for 18 years of age and older. Individuals may choose to receive either the Pfizer or Moderna bivalent booster, regardless of which primary series vaccine or original booster dose they had previously. In the coming weeks, CDC also expects to recommend updated COVID-19 boosters for other pediatric groups after evaluation by the CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP).
For the latest information on bivalent boosters, visit MOStopsCovid.com.