Health experts are recommending the use of updated COVID-19 booster vaccines to protect people from the most prevalent subvariants of the virus currently circulating.
The newly-approved boosters are officially named "bivalent vaccines" that target the original strain of COVID-19 and what is now the predominant subvariant of Omicron, BA.5., according to a report from the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center with Dr. David Tweardy, the head of the Department of Infectious Diseases.
“The updated COVID-19 boosters are formulated to better protect against the most recently circulating COVID-19 variant," CDC Director Rochelle Walensky said on Thursday, Sept. 1. "They can help restore protection that has waned since previous vaccination and were designed to provide broader protection against newer variants.
"This recommendation followed a comprehensive scientific evaluation and robust scientific discussion. If you are eligible, there is no bad time to get your COVID-19 booster and I strongly encourage you to receive it.”
The updated COVID-19 boosters from Pfizer-BioNTech are recommended for those who are 12 years old and older and the Moderna vaccines are recommended for people ages 18 years and older, the CDC said.
Tweardy said in the report that individuals are eligible for the bivalent booster vaccine beginning two months after their last booster shot.
He also said people can get their flu shot at the same time as their booster vaccine, and even in the same arm.
Vaccine appointments can be made by finding the nearest vaccination location at the CDC's vaccines.gov website, and either calling to check appointment availability or booking an appointment online.
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