The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has authorized a second COVID-19 bivalent booster dose for people ages 65 and older and for some people with compromised immunity. Following discussion by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, the CDC recommended the changes yesterday.
The additional boosters will be available in Oregon in the coming days.
According to CDC, the changes will “simplify COVID-19 vaccine recommendations and allow more flexibility for people at higher risk who want the option of added protection from additional COVID-19 vaccine doses.”
In addition, the original (monovalent) mRNA COVID-19 vaccines from Moderna and Pfizer have been discontinued in favor of the bivalent vaccine, effective immediately. CDC recommends that anyone ages 6 months and older who hasn’t yet received a dose of the bivalent vaccine should get one.
What you need to know:
- Booster changes
- People ages 65 and older who have already received a single bivalent booster dose may receive another one at least four months later. (People ages 65 and older who have not received a bivalent booster dose may receive one at least four months after completing their primary series.)
- People ages 6 years and older with compromised immune systems who have already received a single bivalent booster dose may receive another one at least two months later.
- Children under 6 with compromised immune systems may be eligible for an additional bivalent booster dose. Talk to your child’s pediatrician for guidance.
- Immunocompromised people may continue to receive additional bivalent doses at intervals decided by their health care providers.
- Primary series changes
- The bivalent vaccines from Pfizer or Moderna are now the only COVID-19 vaccines available for mRNA primary series doses.
- Moderna’s primary series consists of one bivalent dose for people ages 6 and older; two doses for ages 6 months through 5 years.
- Pfizer’s primary series consists of one bivalent dose for people ages 5 and older; three doses for ages 6 months through 4 years.
- The Novavax COVID-19 vaccine (monovalent/non-mRNA) will remain authorized and available for primary series vaccinations and, in some cases, boosters*. Novavax may offer an updated vaccine and booster this fall that will target more recently circulating COVID-19 virus strains.
- Remaining supplies of Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine (monovalent/non-mRNA) will expire May 6 and thereafter will not be available in the United States.
*The CDC offers this breakdown of all COVID-19 vaccine options and conditions of their use.
As for what awaits us in the fall, the FDA will make decisions about future COVID-19 vaccine guidance after its advisory committee convenes in June.
If you’re unsure about which vaccines and boosters you’ve received, contact OHA’s ALERT Immunization Information System and request your COVID-19 vaccination records at 800-980-9431; email firstname.lastname@example.org.
To find a COVID-19 vaccine near you, visit Vaccines.gov, or call 211.