Updated booster shots targeting the highly infectious omicron variant are the newest way to arm yourself against COVID-19. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) authorized these reformulated boosters the week before Labor Day, with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) signing off. These agencies okayed the boosters from Pfizer-BioNTech for people ages 12 and older and those from Moderna for individuals 18 and up.
What makes these new boosters different from the previous kind?
They are “bivalent,” meaning they contain material from the original vaccines as well as material that will protect us better against subvariants of omicron that are accounting for the most cases today. These variants are better able to elude protections from current vaccines, which wane in effectiveness over time. Although current shots still offer significant protection against severe illness, the new boosters are expected to give recipients even better defenses against the latest variants.
Will We Need to get an updated COVID-19 booster every year?
Although nobody has officially announced that, it appears that we are headed in that direction.
Who should get a new booster?
Everyone over the age of 12 (although Moderna is only approved for adults age 18 and up).
How long do people have to wait to get the booster if they’ve been vaccinated or already boosted?
You have to wait at least two months after you’ve received your last vaccine [or first or second booster] dose.
Does the new booster replace the previous boosters?
Yes. None of the previous boosters will now be offered.
What if you haven't gotten any COVID-19 vaccines? Will all shots be replaced by the new formula?
No. Only boosters will have the updated formula, and to get the boosters people must complete their primary series of the original vaccine [meaning two shots of a Pfizer or Moderna].
Why are these updated boosters thought to be effective?
The FDA evaluated immunogenicity [the immune response generated by a vaccine] and safety data of the updated boosters based on research involving about 1,400 individuals who received either a bivalent shot (with a component of an omicron strain related to BA.4 and BA.5) or a monovalent shot (with only a component of the original strain of the virus). For participants who received the bivalent shot, the immune response to the omicron strain was better than the immune response of those who had received the monovalent shot.
Can you get your flu shot at the same time as the updated booster?
Yes, you can get the two vaccines at the same time; however, our recommendation is to space them out by two weeks.
Shots are available on a walk-in basis Monday-Friday 9am-6pm and Saturday 8:30am-12:30pm. No appointment needed.