New bivalent COVID-19 booster to protect against Omicron variant

MURPHYSBORO, Ill. (KBSI) – This week, the FDA gave to green light to updated COVID-19 boosters.

On Friday, the Jackson County Health Department began administering an updated, or bivalent, COVID-19 booster that is designed to protect against multiple variants, including omicron.

Administrator Bart Hagston said this booster could very well be the future of COVID vaccines.

“That’s likely what will occur is that we’ll see more of this in the future, so as those variant strains develop, they will reconfigure the vaccine to more closely match that and do a better job of preventing transmission, and of course preventing serious illness and hospitalizations, as well,” he said.

On Friday, Jackson County health officials received 100 doses of the Moderna bivalent booster, which is for people ages 18 and up.

Hagston said they have another 100 doses of Moderna on order as well as 600 doses of the Pfizer booster, which will be good for those aged 12 years and older.

Hagston reassured everyone that although this is a new booster, it is not unlike the vaccines before it.

“This vaccine is very similar to the vaccines before in how they were developed, so if people were comfortable with that, then they should be comfortable with these bivalent vaccines, as well,” he said.

There is still ongoing research about bivalent vaccines, but Hagston said they are being rolled out to keep up with the ever-evolving nature of the virus.

“These are the variants that are creating most of the current cases, so if they were to sit back and wait another year for the data to come in on every single trial, then you’re two or three variants down the road,” he said.

Hagston said as long as it has been at least two months since your last COVID vaccine dose, you are eligible to receive the bivalent booster.

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