Health + Wellness

Answering All Your Questions About the “Modified” Omicron Boosters

Omicron boosters

For the first time since the start of the pandemic, we have an updated vaccine, which is designed to target the dominant strains Omicron BA.4 and BA.5. If you’re like the average American, you probably have a lot of questions and are pondering whether or not you should get boosted. Here is everything you need to know about the modified Omicron boosters.

How are these boosters different?

Previous vaccines only targeted one version of SARS-2. The new updated version is considered a bivalent shot, which means it targets two strains (the original and the Omicron BA.4/BA.5). Experts note that this is the first updated COVID vaccine, but it won’t be the last.

Do the Omicron-specific boosters entirely replace the other boosters?

Yes. The new booster shots are now the only available boosters for people ages 12 and older. The previous boosters are no longer authorized by the FDA. 

Who is eligible?                       

Pfizer’s bivalent booster is authorized for those 12 or older, while Moderna’s authorization is for patients 18 and up.

Before receiving the vaccine, you will be asked to complete a primary COVID-19 vaccine series.

RELATED: Is COVID Winding Down? Here’s What Top Experts Are Saying

What about children younger than 12?

The FDA is currently awaiting data related to authorizing the shots in younger children. The age range in the authorization would be expected to drop over the next month or two, according to Peter Marks, the head of the FDA center.

“Booster recommendations for expanded ages and other vaccines may follow, but this is what we have for now. And children aged 5 to 11 who received a primary Pfizer series should still receive the original monovalent booster,” Sandra A. Fryhofer, MD, chair of the AMA Board of Trustees and liaison to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) advises.

Can I get the booster without getting vaccinated?

No, these are booster-sized doses meaning they contain less vaccine than the primary series. This dose won’t be enough to provide good protection against COVID. Therefore, you must be completely vaccinated before you can receive this booster.

Can I mix and match?

Yes. If you received two doses of mRNA or Novavax or one shot of J&J, you are eligible to receive the bivalent booster 8 weeks after completing the primary COVID vaccination series.

When should I get the vaccine?

The recommendation is that people should wait at least two months from their last COVID-19 vaccine dose to get a bivalent booster. However, most people who are eligible for a booster are at least six months from their last dose, according to Dr. Fryhofer.

Should I get boosted if I’ve already had COVID-19?

Yes, you are eligible. However, you should wait until you’ve fully

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