Southern 7 explains COVID bivalent booster

With the emergence of the new COVID-19 Omicron subvariants BA.4 and BA.5 this past summer, the FDA recently approved the new COVID-19 bivalent booster.  

As many become eligible for the new booster, Southern 7 Health Department is sharing information on guidance from the Illinois Department of Public Health, the CDC and partner agencies about the new vaccine. 

Compared with the original COVID-19 strain, both BA.4 and BA.5 are more contagious, yet not as deadly.  

Combined, BA.4 and BA.5 currently cause more than 88 percent of new cases, making it now the predominant strain in the United States. 

“To protect yourself from these new variants, here is what you need to know about the new bivalent booster,” the health department said in a news release.

The new booster is called bivalent because it protects you from both the original virus that causes COVID-19 and the Omicron variant, including subvariants BA.4 and BA.5.

The new COVID-19 bivalent booster replaces the two previous COVID boosters, meaning you only need one booster following your two primary series shots.  

The new bivalent booster is available for anyone age 5 and older who has received their primary series (two doses of Moderna or Pfizer or one dose of J&J).

Anyone who is eligible that is over age 5, and has not received any primary series or booster dose in the past two months, can get the new bivalent booster.  If you have received one booster, your next one would be the bivalent booster. 

If you tested positive for COVID-19, it is recommended that you wait at least three months since your infection to receive the bivalent booster.

You can “mix and match” any of the available bivalent COVID-19 vaccines for your booster dose. Meaning if you received Pfizer as your primary series you can receive Moderna as your bivalent booster and vice versa. 

You can get the bivalent booster and flu shot at the same time.

For those with underlying health conditions or unvaccinated, these viruses can be very serious, the health department advised.More information can be found online at www.cdc.gov.

To find a vaccine provider near you, go to www.vaccines.gov and search for bivalent booster availability, or contact Southern 7 Health Department at 618-634-2297 for vaccination information. 

You can also download the Southern 7 app, visit www.southern7.org and follow Southern 7 on Facebook for more details. 

The Gazette-Democrat

112 Lafayette St.
Anna, Illinois 62906
Office Number: (618) 833-2158
Email: news@annanews.com

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