CDC recommends first updated COVID-19 booster

Courtesy Louisiana Department of Health

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has endorsed the use of updated COVID-19 boosters for anyone 12 years and older, following its Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices' recommendation and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's emergency use authorization.

According to a news release from the Louisiana Department of Health, the CDC has recommended bivalent formulations of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine and the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine for use as a single booster dose at least two months following primary or booster vaccination. The updated boosters are formulated to offer continued protection against the original strain, while also offering better protection against the two lineages of the Omicron variant, BA.4 and BA.5, which represent over 90 percent of currently circulating virus.

This August 2022 photo provided by Pfizer shows vials of the company's updated COVID-19 vaccine during production in Kalamazoo, Mich.

The Moderna COVID-19 booster is authorized for individuals 18 years of age and older and the Pfizer booster is for use for individuals 12 years of age and older.

"The mRNA platform held promise to revolutionize our ability to respond in real time to a swiftly mutating virus. This is a realization of that promise - an updated booster targeting BA.4 and BA.5, made available while those variants represent over 90% of currently circulating virus," stated State Health Officer Dr. Joseph Kanter in the release. "I personally plan to get the updated booster and I recommend others who are eligible do so as well."

Based on the data supporting each of these authorizations, the updated boosters are expected to provide increased protection against the currently circulating omicron variant. Individuals who receive a bivalent COVID-19 booster may experience side effects commonly reported by individuals who receive authorized or approved monovalent mRNA COVID-19 vaccines.

“Mix and matching” of the new bivalent booster dose is allowed. One may receive either the Pfizer or Moderna product regardless of which product they received for their primary series and/or prior booster dose.

With authorization of these two bivalent vaccines, the original monovalent mRNA COVID-19 vaccines are no longer authorized as booster doses for individuals 12 years of age and older.

LDH has notified all healthcare providers that this guidance is effective immediately, and they can start ordering the vaccine now. The boosters are expected to become available in the coming days.

Both CDC and LDH recommend that everyone ages 6 months and up get vaccinated against COVID-19 and that everyone ages 5 and up get a booster as soon as they are eligible. 

If you have questions about COVID-19 and COVID-19 vaccines or you need support, call the Louisiana COVID-19 Support Hotline at 1-855-453-0774. For a list of locations near you, visit vaccines.govor text your ZIP code to GETVAX (438829) in English or VACUNA (822862) in Spanish.