September 7, 2022

Kirksville, MO 9/7/22 – The Adair County Health Department will soon be offering the bivalent COVID-19 Pfizer-BioNTech booster. The Pfizer and Moderna bivalent formulas recently received approval by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and are now recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) as protection against COVID-19.

The previous two-dose series and boosters manufactured by Pfizer and by Moderna, as well as the one-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine, are monovalent, meaning they comprise a single mRNA sequence to combat the original COVID-19 strain. The new bivalent boosters contain the mRNA protein spike sequence for both the original strain and for the Omicron BA.5. Omicron BA.4 and BA.5, now largely responsible for the continued spread of COVID-19, contain the same spike protein.

The Pfizer bivalent booster is approved for administration to those ages 12 and older. The Moderna bivalent is approved for those ages 18 and older. Those eligible for the bivalent booster may receive a dose by either manufacturer. Research has indicated that mixing the Pfizer and Moderna doses neither increases nor decreases their efficacy.

To be eligible to receive the bivalent booster, people of the approved ages for each manufacturer must have completed the two-dose series of the Pfizer or Moderna or the single dose of the Johnson & Johnson monovalent vaccine at least two months before receiving the bivalent booster. Any monovalent booster doses must have been administered at least two months prior to receiving the bivalent booster as well.

Those who are not fully vaccinated already will need to complete the two-dose series before they are eligible for the bivalent booster. The Adair County Health Department continues to administer the monovalent Pfizer vaccines and boosters to those ages 12 and older on Tuesdays from 2 to 4 p.m.

Although children under age 12 are not yet eligible yet for a bivalent booster, the Health Department administers the monovalent Pfizer vaccine to those ages 5 through 11 on Thursdays from 3 to 5:30 p.m., and to children ages 6 months to 4 years old from 9 to 11 a.m. on Thursdays.

The Adair County Health Department will announce availability of the bivalent booster once the Department receives the doses ordered. Area pharmacies and healthcare providers will also begin offering the bivalent boosters. The annual influenza vaccine and the bivalent boosters can be administered at the same time and even in the same arm to eliminate injection site soreness in both arms.

Up to now, COVID-19 testing, vaccines and boosters have been free, paid for by the federal government. The Biden Administration has ordered a certain number of bivalent boosters for distribution throughout the country. However, once testing and vaccine supplies paid for by the government run out, these materials will be privatized. Providers will begin submitting charges to Medicare, Medicaid, and private insurance companies for reimbursement rather than the federal Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA).