CARTERET COUNTY — The Carteret County Health Department will begin accepting appointments this week to administer the new bivalent COVID-19 booster vaccination that targets the BA.4 and BA.5 Omicron subvariants. In addition, some county pharmacies and healthcare providers will be offering the shots.
Individuals seeking an appointment can visit vaccines.gov to identify a pharmacy that is administering a bivalent COVID-19 vaccine or should contact their primary healthcare provider. It is expected some healthcare providers will begin offering the boosters this week.
The health department will open registration for the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna COVID-19 bivalent vaccine this week. For appointments at the health department, individuals may call 252-728-8550, option 2, starting Thursday, Sept. 8 for assistance scheduling.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention endorsed the CDC’s advisory committee on Immunization Practice’s (ACIP) recommendation for the use of the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna COVID-19 bivalent vaccine as a single booster dose for those who received their last booster or completed their primary vaccine series at least two months ago.
The Moderna COVID-19 bivalent vaccine is authorized for use as a single booster dose in individuals 18 years of age and older. The Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 bivalent vaccine is authorized for use as a single booster dose in individuals 12 years of age and older.
This follows the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) authorization of the emergency use of Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccines for the prevention of COVID-19, especially the BA.4 and BA.5 Omicron subvariants.
According to the FDA, the bivalent COVID-19 vaccines were evaluated for their immune response and safety in clinical study. The authorized bivalent COVID-19 vaccines, or updated boosters, include the mRNA component of the original strain and an mRNA component in common between the omicron BA.4 and BA.5 variants. Additionally, data pertaining to the safety and effectiveness of the current mRNA COVID-19 vaccines contributed to the agency’s evaluation.
The FDA also states the bivalent COVID-19 vaccine will provide better protection against COVID-19 caused by omicron BA.4 and BA.5 subvariants. They are responsible for most of the COVID-19 cases in the U.S. and are predicted to circulate this fall and winter.
More information about the bivalent COVID-19 vaccine can be found by visiting the FDA’s website.