The Food and Drug Administration recently approved a bivalent, also referred to as "updated," version of the COVID-19 vaccine booster. Bivalent vaccines contain two mRNA components that will help generate an immune response to both the original strain of Sars-CoV-2, the COVID-19 virus, as well as the two omicron variants of SARS-CoV-2 (BA.4 and BA.5) that are more common today.
Bivalent booster vaccines are a combination, containing both the original vaccine “recipe” and a component specific to addressing the omicron variants. This differentiates new boosters from earlier booster vaccines, which were monovalent, containing only the original vaccine recipe.
The bivalent booster helps protect all patients, families and VUMC employees from severe COVID-19 infection and the spread of the COVID-19 virus to those not protected by vaccination, such as those with suppressed immune systems).
COVID-19 booster vaccinations are now proven effective at preventing severe illness, hospitalizations and deaths from COVID-19. The updated booster will offer additional protection against the current omicron variants.
Now that updated (bivalent) boosters are available at VUMC, patients will no longer receive earlier (monovalent) versions of the COVID-19 vaccine boosters, as these are less effective at providing protection from current omicron variants.
Who needs to get a bivalent booster vaccine?
Bivalent booster vaccines are highly recommended for all individuals ages 12 years and older. You can receive a bivalent (updated) booster vaccine if it has been at least 2 months since:
- Your last booster, if you have already received a previous booster dose, OR
- The final dose of your primary vaccine series if you have not yet received a booster
If you have had a recent COVID-19 infection, you may receive your bivalent booster once you have recovered and are out of isolation.
Where can I get the bivalent booster vaccine?
Beginning in October, Employer Solutions' Corporate Health and Wellness team will be able to provide employers with bivalent booster vaccines for their employees. Learn more about the team's capabilities on this site, and email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.