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COVID-19 Booster Update: What You Need to Know

Coronavirus (COVID-19)
Author name: Lee Health

COVID-19 booster update graphic
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has endorsed the use of updated COVID-19 boosters for anyone 12 years and older after its Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) recommendation and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) emergency use authorization.

The CDC has recommended bivalent formulations of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine and the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine for use as a single booster dose at least two months after the primary (first) or booster vaccination.

The updated COVID-19 boosters are formulated to better protect against the most recently circulating COVID-19 variant, says Lee Health Infectious Disease Specialist Dr. Stephanie Stovall, Chief Clinical Officer of Quality/Safety and Hospital-Based Care.

“The updated boosters can help restore protection that has waned since previous vaccination and were designed to provide broader protection against newer variants,” Dr. Stovall says. “The CDC’s recommendation is based on a comprehensive scientific evaluation and robust scientific discussion.”

Until the new recommendation, COVID-19 vaccines have targeted the original coronavirus strain. The new U.S. boosters are combination, or “bivalent,” shots.

The updated doses are formulated to offer continued protection against the original strain while offering better protection against the newest omicron versions, BA.4 and BA.5, representing over 90 percent of the currently circulating virus.

The updated boosters are only for people who have already had their primary vaccinations, using the original vaccines. Doses made by Pfizer and its partner BioNTech are for anyone 12 and older, while Moderna’s updated shots are for adults — if it has been at least two months since their last primary vaccination or their latest booster. The updated shots are not to be used for initial vaccinations.

Key facts

  • The Moderna COVID-19 booster is authorized for individuals 18 and older.
  • The Pfizer booster is for use for individuals 12 and older.
  • “Mix and matching” of the new bivalent booster dose is allowed. You can receive the Pfizer or Moderna product regardless of which product you had for your primary series and/or prior booster dose.

In the coming weeks, the CDC also expects to recommend updated COVID-19 boosters for other pediatric groups, per the discussion and evaluation of the data by ACIP earlier this month.

Boosters are an important part of protecting yourself from getting seriously ill or dying from COVID-19,” Dr. Stovall says. “They are recommended for most people.”

To find out when or if you or your child can get one or more COVID-19 boosters, visit the CDC’s site here.

Schedule a vaccine appointment (ages 18+).

Where can I get my child vaccinated?