Omicron-Specific Booster Shots Are Available Now

If Covid infections recur this winter, a vaccine is the best protection

Dr. Zach Zachariah

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Author created illustration; Moderna image by Guido Hofmann, Pfizer image by Jesse Paul on Unsplash

The FDA approved the bivalent formulations of the Moderna Covid-19 Vaccine and the Pfizer/BioNTech Covid-19 Vaccine as a single booster dose on August 31, 2022. The updated "bivalent" boosters contain two messenger RNA (mRNA) components of the SARS-CoV-2 virus, the original strain and the one found in the omicron subvariants, BA.4 and BA.5 lineages. The new formulations are expected to provide better protection against Covid-19 caused by the Omicron subvariants.

The number of new cases due to Covid-19, hospital admissions, and deaths are trending downward. Still, the disease kills approximately 400 persons per day. The predominant Omicron strain is the BA.5 lineage, projected to be 81.3% of the total number of cases.

Are these booster shots authorized for all age groups?

The answer is no.

  • The bivalent Moderna vaccine is authorized for individuals 18 and older.
  • The bivalent Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine is authorized for individuals 12 and older.

Who is eligible for the new booster shots, and when?

  • An eligible person can receive a single dose of the bivariant vaccine if it has been at least two months since the individual has completed primary vaccination or has received the most recent booster dose with any of the approved monovalent COVID-19 vaccines.

What if a person had Covid recently?

  • The CDC recommends waiting three months after testing negative before getting your new booster.

Is it essential that the bivalent boosters are not fully approved?

According to the FDA, the clinical study to evaluate the effectiveness of a single booster dose of the bivalent vaccines involved 600 participants for the new Pfizer vaccine and 800 participants for the new Moderna vaccine. All participants had previously received a 2-dose primary series and one booster dose. Four weeks after receiving the single dose bivalent…

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Dr. Zach Zachariah

Ph.D. chemist with an M.B.A. | Enrolled Agent | Writes on science | economy | taxes | public interest topics | American politics | Indian-Americans | COVID-19