More information about COVID-19 bivalent boosters
The virus that causes COVID-19 changes over time. Keep your protection up to date by getting an updated COVID-19 vaccine booster. The updated COVID-19 vaccine boosters include components of the original virus strain and the Omicron variant. This is called a bivalent COVID-19 vaccine.
The updated COVID-19 vaccine boosters are designed to give you broad protection against COVID-19, including better protection against the Omicron variant.
COVID-19 vaccines can help protect against severe illness, hospitalization and death from COVID-19. As the virus changes and your immunity naturally decreases over time, you may lose some of that protection.
The updated (bivalent) booster vaccines are authorized to help provide better protection against COVID-19.
What bivalent COVID-19 vaccine boosters has FDA authorized?
The FDA authorized bivalent formulations of the Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccines for use as a single booster dose at least two months after completing primary or booster vaccination.
The Moderna COVID-19 Vaccine, Bivalent is authorized for use as single booster dose in individuals 6 months age and older.
The Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine, Bivalent is authorized for use as a single booster dose in six months of age and older.
Am I eligible for an updated (bivalent) COVID-19 vaccine booster?
Eligibility for a booster depends on:
- Your age
- When you finished primary vaccination
- When received your most recent booster dose of a monovalent COVID-19 vaccine
If eligible, consider getting a bivalent COVID-19 vaccine booster.
A single booster dose with an updated bivalent COVID-19 vaccine is designed to provide broad protection against COVID-19 and better protection against COVID-19 caused by the currently circulating Omicron variant.
If you are eligible for an updated COVID-19 vaccine booster, the updated booster you receive does not need to be from the same manufacturer that made the vaccine you received for your primary vaccination or previous booster.
Facts about Omicron BA.5
- Based on the latest information provided by the CDC, Omicron BA.5 is the predominant variant, causing an estimated 82% of cases. BA.5 has fueled the rapid rise in cases since June 2022, suggesting that it spreads more easily than previous Omicron lineages.
- BA.5 was first identified in Montana on May 31, 2022. DPHHS estimates that BA.5 accounts for approximately 52% of the COVID-19 positive samples collected in the last five weeks.
- People infected with BA.5 may develop a cough, runny nose, sore throat, fatigue, headaches and muscle pains. However, they are less likely to lose their senses of taste and smell, or to experience shortness of breath, compared to those infected with Delta or other variants of COVID-19.
- BA.5 has shown to be more successful at evading the immune protection gained either by vaccination or prior COVID-19 infection.
- People who are up to date on vaccines have much lower risk of severe illness and death from COVID-19 compared with unvaccinated people.
FAQ: Novavax Vaccine
What is the Novavax vaccine and is it available in the United States?
On July 19, 2022, the CDC updated its COVID-19 vaccine recommendations, approving the Novavax vaccine for emergency use authorization for adults 18 years and older. Novavax is a two-dose, protein-based COVID-19 vaccine that is currently being used in more than 40 countries and has been authorized by the European Union and the World Health Organization.
Novavax will now be the fourth COVID-19 vaccine available in the U.S., in addition to Pfizer, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson. As a protein-based vaccine, Novavax is another option for people who are allergic to one of the components in a mRNA or viral-vector vaccine. The vaccine is currently authorized as a primary series only, and not as a booster dose.
Regulators authorized the vaccine following an extensive review of clinical trials and safety and effectiveness data. At the time of the announcement, the CDC stated that the Novavax vaccine would be available in the coming weeks.
Updated July 20, 2022
How does Novavax differ from the other available vaccines in the United States?
The Novavax vaccine is created using more traditional protein-based technology for vaccine development, unlike the other vaccines currently available in the United States (the Pfizer and Moderna mRNA vaccines and viral-vector Johnson & Johnson vaccine).
The Novavax vaccine uses a combination of purified coronavirus spike proteins and an immune-boosting stimulant called an adjuvant (common in many vaccines) to strengthen the body’s immune response against COVID-19. Novavax has already been authorized in more than 40 countries and has been granted emergency authorization from the European Union and the World Health Organization.
Updated June 29, 2022
What are the known side effects of the Novavax vaccine?
Data from the Novavax clinical trial also show that Novavax is more than 90% effective at protecting against symptomatic COVID-19, and 100% effective against severe illness and death. Common side effects include soreness at the injection site, fatigue, muscle pain, and headaches.
In terms of serious adverse reactions to Novavax, data show there were six cases of myocarditis from a clinical trial of about 30,000 people, primarily among young men. The cases of myocarditis in the clinical trial were treatable, and all six individuals recovered well. The risk of developing myocarditis from COVID-19 remains higher than the risk of developing it from a COVID-19 vaccine, including Novavax.
Updated June 29, 2022.
All information from the Public Health Communications Collaborative
Early July Update: Children and COVID-19 vaccines
What are the current recommendations for COVID-19 vaccination for children?
On June 18, 2022, CDC authorized Pfizer and Moderna vaccines for children as young as six months old. The authorization will add young children age 6 months through 4 years old to those eligible to get a Pfizer vaccine, and children and adolescents age 6 months through 17 years old to get a Moderna vaccine.
The dose and series authorized for children is informed by clinical trials on safety and effectiveness of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccine in these age groups.
Pfizer COVID-19 Vaccine Authorization
- Children age 6 months through 4 years old receive a three-shot series, with two doses spaced three weeks apart and followed by a third at least two months later. The dosage is one-tenth the adult dosage.
- Children age 5 to 11 receive a two-shot series spaced three weeks apart. The dosage is one-third the adult dosage. This age group should get a booster dose at least five months after their second shot.
- Children age 12 to 17 receive a two-shot series spaced three weeks apart. The dosage is the same as the adult dosage. This age group should get a booster dose at least five months after their second shot.
Moderna COVID-19 Vaccine Authorization
- Children age 6 months through 5 years old receive a two-shot series, with two doses spaced four weeks apart. The dosage is half the adult dosage.
- Children age 6 to 17 receive a two-shot series, with two doses spaced four weeks apart. The dosage is the same as the dosage for adults.
Why did it take so long for the FDA to make a decision about vaccines for children under 5?
All the COVID-19 vaccines have undergone a rigorous review process before being authorized for a given age group. The FDA’s evaluation of vaccines for young kids has been part of this overall thorough review process. Clinical trials were not started in children until after the trials in adults showed safety and efficacy of the vaccines. Additionally, part of what made the review process longer for young kids is that experts were determining what dosage and series would be safe and effective for children under five. After reviewing initial data on the effectiveness of the vaccine in young kids, the FDA waited to receive additional findings from clinical trials to ensure that its recommendation was based on a substantial amount of clinical data.
Why should children get the COVID-19 vaccine?
Medical and public health experts, including the CDC and the American Academy of Pediatrics, recommend that children and adolescents age 5 and older get a COVID-19 vaccine to help protect them from contracting and spreading the virus.
The vaccine is the best way to protect children from becoming severely ill or having long-lasting health impacts due to COVID-19. COVID-19 has become one of the top 10 causes of pediatric death, and tens of thousands of children and teens have been hospitalized with COVID-19. While children and adolescents are typically at lower risk than adults of becoming severely ill or hospitalized from COVID-19, it is still possible.
Another important reason for children to get the COVID-19 vaccine is to protect their friends, family, and the broader community from the spread of the virus. As vaccination rates increase, the lower the chances that the coronavirus will mutate into dangerous variants.
Is the COVID-19 vaccine safe for children?
Yes. Keeping children safe and healthy is top of mind for parents, and scientists have worked to ensure the vaccine is safe for children ages 5-17. Before being authorized for children, scientists and medical experts completed their review of safety and effectiveness data from clinical trials of thousands of children. The Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine was rigorously tested and reviewed, and more than 11 million adolescents ages 12-17 have already received the COVID-19 vaccine. As of November 2, the Pfizer vaccine is also authorized for children ages 5-11.
Data from trials will continue to be collected for two years after each vaccine is first administered to ensure that they are safe for the long term. As with all vaccines, there will be ongoing monitoring among people who are vaccinated.
COVID-19: Frequently Asked Questions
Second Booster Dose Information
The CDC has updated their recommendations to allow people over the age of 50, and some immunocompromised individuals, to receive a second booster dose at least four months following their first booster of Pfizer or Moderna vaccines.
Also, adults who received a primary vaccine and booster dose of J&J COVID-19 vaccine at least 4 months ago can now receive a second booster of either Pfizer or Moderna.
Our Vaccine Planning Team will be meeting soon to discuss possible vaccine clinics in the county to administer boosters. However, if you are at high risk and believe you qualify for a second booster, you are urged to discuss with your primary care physician.
For locations of vaccine providers in the county, please visit our COVID-19 Hub.
To suggest a question to be answered, please email healthinfo(at)lccountymt.gov.
Please note: As this is an ongoing pandemic, items on this FAQ are subject to change and may not be updated with newer information immediately. These answers are not meant to diagnosis or treat COVID-19. If you are experiencing symptoms, see your provider. If you are experiencing any life-threatening symptoms of COVID-19, including trouble breathing, persistent pressure or pain in the chest, new confusion, inability to wake or stay awake, or bluish lips or face coloring, seek emergency care immediately.
For the most up-to-date vaccine progress and county case counts, visit our COVID-19 Hub.
The New York Times provides COVID-19 data for all states on their COVID in the US page (no account needed).
New - updated information regarding mood disorders and booster shots.
For information on how to determine close contacts to a positive case, refer to this CDC document.
Note: This update taken directly from New York Times regarding BA.2 version of Omicron.
Is the BA.2 version of Omicron worse? Here’s what you need to know.Published 2/24/22 from https://www.nytimes.com/live/2022/02/24/world/covid-19-tests-cases-vaccine/stealth-omicron-ba2-variant
With the huge Omicron surge in coronavirus cases now receding in the United States and many other countries, reports have been cropping up in many news outlets lately about a potentially worrisome new version of Omicron — a subvariant known as BA.2 — and the threats it may pose.
Here are some key things to understand about BA.2 and what we know so far.
It’s not really new.
Scientists learned soon after the Omicron variant was first detected in November that it came in three genetically distinct varieties. They focused on BA.1, because it was about 1,000 times as prevalent as BA.2 in the early going; the third subvariant was rarer still. It was BA.1 that first broke out and raced around the world, while BA.2 took longer to become significant, but both have been on scientists’ radar from the outset.
It seems to be easier to catch.
All kinds of Omicron are highly contagious, which is why Omicron swiftly crowded out earlier variants like Delta and caused an immense global surge. But preliminary studies suggest that BA.2 is even more transmissible than BA.1. It has already become the dominant form of Omicron in a few countries and is gaining ground in others. Its potentially greater transmissibility has raised some concerns that BA.2 could cause a fresh spike or could lengthen the current one, but the jury is still out on whether that is likely to happen.
It does not appear to be more severe.
A crucial feature of the Omicron surge has been that if you are infected with the variant, your odds of becoming severely ill, being hospitalized or dying are significantly lower than they were with Delta or earlier variants. The research so far, including a new study from South Africa, indicates that BA.2 is no different from BA.1 on that score.
Existing vaccines work against it.
While it is known that Omicron generally has been somewhat better than other variants at causing “breakthrough” infections of vaccinated people, the vaccines still provide substantial protection against infection and very strong protection against severe illness. Booster shots make the protection even more robust. And once again, BA.2 doesn’t seem to change any of that: British researchers recently found that vaccines were equally effective against both Omicron subvariants.
Omicron has also been somewhat better than other variants at breaking through “natural” immunity acquired from previous infections, and some concerns have been raised that BA.2 might be able to do that to people who caught BA.1 in the Omicron surge. While such reinfections have been reported, they have so far been exceedingly rare even in countries where BA.2 is now prevalent.
Its ‘stealth variant’ nickname is outdated.
BA.2 was nicknamed the “stealth variant” because initially, when the challenge for researchers was to distinguish Omicron cases from those of Delta and other variants, BA.2 did not tip off its presence in positive P.C.R. test samples the way BA.1 did, through a mutation that concealed one of the three telltale coronavirus genes that the tests detect. Now that the vast majority of positive tests involve Omicron, however, the missing mutation can make BA.2 decidedly un-stealthy, standing out from BA.1 cases in P.C.R. tests.
Scientists have discovered a new COVID-19 variant: Omicron. In a nutshell, there’s a lot that isn’t know about this new variant. Here’s what we do know, courtesy of the CDC.
Q: Is Lewis and Clark Public Health adopting the new CDC guidance for isolation and quarantine?
A: Yes. This guidance was adopted on Jan. 7, 2022 and revised in mid-January. To view this guidance, please visit our COVID-19 page.
Updated March 9, 2022.
COVID-19 Vaccine Guidance for Immunocompromised Individuals
The CDC recently clarified and updated recommendations for some moderately or severely immunocompromised individuals and COVID-19 booster doses.
People with immunocompromising conditions or people who take immunosuppressive medications or therapies are advised to receive a three dose primary series of either Pfizer or Moderna vaccines (mRNA), and then get an mRNA booster dose at least 3 months after their third dose.
Those who received a Janssen (J&J vaccine) should get a Pfizer or Moderna second dose and then an Pfizer or Moderna booster at least two months after the second dose.
If you have any questions regarding these recommendations, please contact your primary care provider.
Please visit this CDC page for more information.