What is the bivalent COVID-19 booster?
In September, the FDA authorized two updated COVID-19 boosters. The boosters target two Omicron subvariants, BA.4 and BA.5, which are the most contagious versions of SARS-CoV-2. In fact, BA.5 accounts for nearly 90% of cases in the United States. The new booster is what’s called a bivalent vaccine, which means it includes two different mRNA components of the coronavirus. Half of the vaccine targets the original strain, and the other half targets the BA.4 and BA.5 Omicron subvariant.
When should I get a bivalent COVID-19 booster?
The CDC recommends you wait at least two months from when you received either the primary vaccine or booster. Some health experts recommend you wait longer between booster shots, up to six months ideally. This is because virus-fighting antibodies can remain in a person’s system for a while, making it unnecessary for an additional booster so soon after the prior one.
Can I mix and match COVID-19 vaccines?
Yes, the FDA has authorized the use of mix-and-match boosters. For example, if you received the Moderna vaccine as your primary does, you can get a Pfizer booster vaccine.
What should I know about the Novavax vaccine?
The Novavax vaccine is the fourth COVID-19 vaccine authorized by the FDA. Unlike the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine, the Novavax vaccine directly injects a version of the spike protein, along with another ingredient that also stimulates the immune system, into the body. The Novavax vaccine is often referred to as a “traditional” vaccine, because the underlying technology is that same as vaccines used for shingles, diphtheria, tetanus and others.
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