Published on September 02, 2022
DENVER – The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) approved two new booster shots by Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna that take aim at the latest strains and variants of COVID-19. The bivalent formulations of the vaccines were approved for use as a single booster dose at least two months following primary or booster vaccination. The vaccines are safe and have been tested to meet the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and CDC’s rigorous scientific standards. The vaccines were formally approved for use by the FDA on Aug. 31.
Until now, COVID-19 vaccines have targeted the original SARS-CoV-2 virus, while both new U.S. boosters are combination, or “bivalent,” shots. They contain half the original vaccine formula and half protection against the newest omicron variants, BA.4 and BA.5, considered the most contagious yet. The updated boosters are only for people who have already completed their primary vaccination series using the original vaccines. Age eligibility requirements are different for each booster:
Moderna COVID-19 Vaccine, Bivalent: Individuals 18 years of age and older are eligible for a single booster dose if it has been at least two months since they have completed primary vaccination or have received the most recent booster dose with any authorized or approved monovalent COVID-19 vaccine.
Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine, Bivalent: Individuals 12 years of age and older are eligible for a single booster dose if it has been at least two months since they have completed primary vaccination or have received the most recent booster dose with any authorized or approved monovalent COVID-19 vaccine.
"As we continue to navigate the endemic phase of COVID-19, we have been consistent in our messaging that vaccinations and boosters are the way for our Denver community to stay as safe as possible,” said Bob McDonald, DDPHE executive director. “This updated vaccine is an additional tool to use to stay protected. As we head into fall, we expect to see a surge in COVID-19 cases, as is typical for respiratory illnesses. Getting the approved bivalent vaccine is essential in staying protected from the newer variants of COVID-19.”
The bivalent vaccines should not be used for initial vaccinations. The COVID-19 vaccines, including boosters, continue to save lives and prevent hospitalization and death. Heading into fall, as people begin to spend more time indoors, the Denver Dept. of Public Health & Environment (DDPHE) strongly encourages anyone who is eligible to consider receiving a booster dose with a bivalent COVID-19 vaccine to provide better protection against currently circulating variants.
DDPHE is in close coordination with the Colorado Department of Public Health & Environment on the rollout of the updated boosters.
Vaccines are free, readily available and requires no proof of insurance or identification. Many options for vaccinations are available, including mobile bus clinics (appointments recommended), as well as vaccinations through a primary care provider or pharmacy. Additional resources about COVID-19 vaccines and boosters can be found on the DDPHE COVID-19 webpage at DenverGov.org/COVID19.