San Luis Obispo County community members ages 65 and older and people living with certain immune compromising conditions may now get a second bivalent COVID-19 vaccine.
This is the updated “Omicron booster” that protects against current variants of COVID-19. The updated vaccine first became available in fall of 2022.
Health officials say this change is one of several updates from the FDA and CDC to simplify guidance around COVID-19 vaccination and ensure the most effective, current vaccine is widely available.
This update means the original ‘monovalent’ vaccine formula has been fully replaced by the updated bivalent formula.
Anyone who has not yet been vaccinated against COVID-19 may now get a single dose of the updated formula rather than a two-part primary series with the original formula.
“Like the flu shot, the bivalent vaccine protects against the strains of COVID-19 we are seeing right now,” said Dr. Rick Rosen, Deputy County Health Officer. “Older adults and people with immune compromise are at higher risk for severe COVID-19, and data show the effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccines can wane over time for this group. A second dose of the updated vaccine offers extra protection from getting seriously ill with COVID-19.”
CDC continues to recommend those who have not received a bivalent booster do so now. Those ages six and older who have received an updated (bivalent) vaccine do not need additional doses unless they are 65 years or older or immunocompromised. For children under six years of age, recommendations vary by age, vaccine, and which vaccines were previously received.
Updated vaccines are available from pharmacies, pediatricians and other doctor’s offices and Public Health clinics.
“We have come a long way since the first vaccines rolled out and are in a much better place today thanks to the protection the vaccines have provided,” said Dr. Rosen. “I encourage all of us to take full advantage of the updated protection available from the bivalent vaccines, so we can keep moving forward from the worst of the pandemic.”
For updates on COVID-19 in SLO County, visit slopublichealth.org/COVID19 or call the recorded Public Health Information Line at (805) 788-2903. Public Health phone support is available at (805) 781-5500 Monday – Friday, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.