Earlier this month the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) authorized Pfizer and Modern bivalent vaccine (“two strain”) boosters for everyone aged 12 and older, following completion of their primary series at least two months earlier, regardless of vaccine product used, according to a press release from San Benito County.
The bivalent vaccine booster, which is also referred to as an “updated booster,” is specifically formulated to protect against infection from the two most prevalent Omicron subvariants—BA.4 and BA.5, and contains the components of the original booster shots.
The Moderna bivalent vaccine is authorized for use as a single booster dose in individuals 18 years of age and older and the Pfizer bivalent booster is authorized for use as a single booster dose in individuals 12 years of age and older.
Local public officials are encouraging residents to make sure they are up to date on their vaccinations and booster shots.
“As the virus changes and your immunity naturally decreases over time, you may lose some protection from previous Covid-19 vaccines,” said Dr. DAvid Ghilarducci, Interim San Benito County Health Officer. “Getting the latest booster shot will help increase your protection against severe Covid-19 disease, slow transmission of the virus and reduce the likelihood of new variants emerging in our community.”
Ghilarducci added, “As we transition from the summer to fall, we can follow simple health measures now to reduce the potential risk of a Covid-19 surge. Covid-19 is still a dangerous virus. By being fully vaccinated and boosted, especially with the new boosters against the more infectious Omicron subvariants of the virus, we are protecting ourselves and others in our community, especially those at highest risk for severe consequences should they become infected. Staying up to date on your Covid vaccinations continues to be the best way to protect yourself and your loved ones.”
The monovalent mRNA Covid-19 vaccines are no longer authorized as booster doses for individuals 12 years of age and older, says the county press release. Staying up to date on vaccination with the recommended boosters remains the best way to prevent hospitalization and death from Covid-19, including for young children.
For available vaccinations with the bivalent booster, check with your pharmacy, provider or by visiting myturn.ca.gov or calling 1.833-422.4255.