Bivalent COVID booster now available
RICHMOND, Va. (WDBJ) - The Virginia Department of Health is now making available bivalent COVID boosters which specifically target the BA.4 and BA.5 Omicron subvariants.
“The elderly and those with significant chronic disease remain at the highest risk of severe illness and hospitalization due to COVID-19,” said State Health Commissioner Colin M. Greene, MD, MPH in a press release. “Being vaccinated and boosted significantly reduces this risk.”
According to VDH, the Food and Drug Administration granted Emergency Use Authorization of the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna boosters on August 31. Then came a September 1 vote to recommend the boosters by the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, a panel of independent scientific advisors to the CDC.
The panel (ACIP) voted specifically to recommend the Pfizer-BioNTech updated bivalent vaccine for people aged 12 years and older and the Moderna updated bivalent vaccine for people aged 18 years and older at least two months after completion of a primary series or booster dose.
An endorsement by the director of the CDC came the same day, according to VDH.
Representatives for the agency said in a press release Wednesday that Virginia’s 35 local health districts pre-ordered 100,800 Pfizer-BioNTech vials and 40,900 Moderna vials. Those vials were anticipated to start arriving at local health district offices and partner providers by Tuesday, September 6. Pharmacies preordered vaccines through the federal partnership, too, according to VDH.
The vaccines are free. They are aimed at the variants that emerged out of the Omicron wave initially documented in the United States in November of 2021.
People with questions about the vaccine and their individual situations are advised to contact their healthcare providers.
To find free vaccination opportunities near you, visit vaccinate.virginia.gov or call 877-VAX-IN-VA (877-829-4682, TTY users call 7-1-1) Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Assistance is available in English, Spanish, and more than 100 other languages.
Copyright 2022 WDBJ. All rights reserved.