Last week, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) endorsed the recommendation from its Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) of two newly available bivalent COVID-19 vaccines for use as a single-dose booster in individuals 12 years and older.
A bivalent vaccine is designed to protect against two different strains of a virus. The new bivalent versions of the COVID-19 vaccine will offer protection against both the original strain of SARS-CoV-2 as well as the Omicron BA.4/BA.5 strain, which is now the predominant variant of the virus around the world. The original COVID-19 vaccines remain available to children ages 6 months – 11 years and for individuals ages 12 years and older who have not yet received their primary series of COVID-19 vaccine.
“The North Dakota Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has ordered 19,900 bivalent COVID-19 vaccines from the federal government,” said HHS Immunization Director Molly Howell. “Now that the FDA has authorized this vaccine, and the CDC has recommended it, the bivalent vaccine will be available at over 100 health care provider offices throughout North Dakota, including local public health, private clinics and pharmacies. Health care providers are in the process of educating staff and updating protocols, so most providers will begin vaccinating with the bivalent vaccine later this week or early next week.”
Both Moderna and Pfizer Bio-N-Tech have bivalent vaccines authorized for use as a booster dose. Individuals are eligible to receive a booster dose at least two months after their previous dose of COVID-19 vaccine, as long as they have completed the primary vaccine series.
“More than 62% of North Dakotans 12 years and older have completed a primary series of COVID-19 vaccine,” said Howell. “North Dakotans are encouraged to have a conversation with a trusted health care provider about vaccination.”
Information about COVID-19 vaccine providers and clinics near you can be found on the HHS COVID Vaccine Locator page. Individuals can also contact the Public Health Hotline at 866-207-2880 for questions related to COVID-19 and assistance in scheduling a vaccine appointment.