The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued recommendations for use of the Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 bivalent vaccines to help protect Americans from COVID-19. Also known as “updated boosters,” the vaccines target multiple strains of COVID-19—the original strain of the virus and 2 of the Omicron variants (BA.4 and BA.5). The Omicron variants are currently the most widespread variants in the world.
The updated boosters could begin shipping to states as early as Friday; however, most providers will start to see vaccines arrive next week. “Utahns should be able to access vaccinations soon after Labor Day. We should have more than 100,000 doses in Utah within the next week,” said Rich Lakin with the Utah Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) immunization program. Providers such as local health departments, pharmacies, and doctor’s offices will begin offering these boosters over the next several days to weeks. “Please be patient as providers begin to receive the updated booster doses and update their systems to reflect current inventory.”
Utahns who are eligible to receive a bivalent booster dose right now include:
- Individuals 18 years of age and older are eligible for the updated Moderna booster if it has been at least 2 months since they completed their primary vaccination series or received a booster dose.
- Individuals 12 years of age and older are eligible for the updated Pfizer-BioNTech booster if it has been at least 2 months since they completed their primary vaccination series or received a booster dose.
- Anyone who has an appointment to get a monovalent booster should reschedule for when bivalent doses are in stock and can be administered.
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. The current monovalent booster will no longer be available to people 12 and older; the FDA is removing authorization for those boosters to reduce provider confusion for staff administering vaccines. However, children ages 5-11 may still get the monovalent boosters at this time, and until a bivalent vaccine is authorized and recommended for this age group.
“We encourage all Utahns to stay up-to-date on their immunizations. As fall approaches, it’s important that you have as much protection from vaccine-preventable illnesses like flu and COVID-19 as possible,” said Dr. Leisha Nolen, state epidemiologist at DHHS. “Data from the southern hemisphere suggests the flu season may hit us hard this winter at the same time we expect transmission of COVID-19 to increase. The updated COVID-19 vaccine can help protect us all.”
A list of vaccine providers is available on the state’s coronavirus webpage or vaccines.gov.