Keeping your family protected against contagious viruses requires ongoing efforts. In past decades, this primarily meant practicing good hygiene and receiving your flu shots. With the onset of COVID-19, however, it’s become more important than ever to take some extra steps to stay protected against contagious viruses.
Even if you’ve already received a COVID-19 vaccine in the past, it may be time for a booster. Read on to find out more about the new bivalent COVID-19 vaccine and who can receive it.
What Is the Bivalent COVID-19 Booster?
Like seasonal flu viruses, the virus that causes COVID-19 changes as time goes on. To keep the public protected against changing strains, scientists continue to develop new vaccines. The bivalent COVID-19 vaccine has been updated to include both the original virus strain, as well as a portion of the omicron variant. The term “bivalent” refers to these two separate strains. By including two strains of the virus, the bivalent booster offers a greater level of protection against COVID-19 than the original vaccine.
Who Should Get the Bivalent COVID-19 Booster?
The bivalent boosters became available for people 12 and older in September 2022, then for children aged five to 11 in October 2022. Yet, determining whether you’re up to date on your boosters can get a little tricky, since it depends on three factors:
- The first vaccine you received
- How long it’s been since your last dose
Adults 18 years and older are eligible to receive either the Pfizer or Moderna bivalent COVID-19 booster as long as their most recent dose or booster was given at least two months ago.
For children aged five to 11, the Pfizer bivalent booster should be given at least two months after receiving their most recent dose or booster. Children 12 and older can have either the Moderna or Pfizer booster, no matter which series they originally received.
Recently, the FDA approved the use of the bivalent Moderna and Pfizer COVID-19 vaccines for children as young as six months. Specifically:
- Children six months through five years who have received the original Moderna COVID-19 vaccine can now receive the updated bivalent Moderna COVID-19, as long as at least two months have passed since receiving the first series of vaccines.
- Children six months through four years who haven’t begun their Pfizer COVID-19 vaccines will now receive the bivalent vaccine as the third dose in the series. Children six months through four years who have already had their three doses will not be eligible for a booster at this time due to limited data, though updated guidance is expected to be released soon.
The providers at YourTown Health understand that it can be challenging to stay up-to-date with vaccine information, especially if you’re caring for multiple family members. We’re here to answer any questions you may have, either about the bivalent COVID-19 booster or other health matters. And if you’ve yet to receive shots against COVID, it’s not too late to gain the many benefits of being vaccinated.