Lots of questions will come up about updated COVID-19 boosters.
All boosters of Pfizer-BioNTech for patients age 12 and up and Moderna for 18 and up are now bivalent...with 2 mRNA components.
They’ll still cover the original SARS-CoV-2 virus...but also Omicron BA.4/BA.5, the variants currently circulating.
Explain that human data for COVID-19 vaccines with Omicron BA.1...and animal data with BA.4/BA.5...show a better immune response against Omicron versus another original monovalent booster.
Offer a bivalent COVID-19 booster to all patients age 12 and up who finished the primary series or got a booster at least 2 months ago...regardless of the number of prior boosters they’ve had.
Give whichever age-appropriate bivalent booster you have in stock.
But reinforce that UNvaccinated patients still need a PRIMARY series with the original vaccines first...before a bivalent booster.
Recommend eligible patients at higher risk of severe COVID-19 (age over 65, immunocompromised, etc) get the updated booster promptly.
It’s okay if a lower-risk patient prefers to wait a bit for the booster...such as 3 months after a COVID-19 infection or until a couple weeks before a large gathering. Some experts suggest the “sweet spot” is 3 to 6 months after the last COVID-19 vaccine dose or infection.
For now, give just ONE bivalent booster...additional boosters aren’t recommended, even for immunocompromised patients. This shift may be setting us up for annual COVID-19 boosters...similar to flu.
Use 0.3 mL (30 mcg) for Pfizer-BioNTech or 0.5 mL (50 mcg) for Moderna bivalent boosters. Stay alert for errors.
Keep in mind, COVID-19 vaccines are no cost to patients until at least Jan 2023...including admin fees, if not covered by payers.
Post our resource, COVID-19 Vaccines, for dosing, storage, etc.
- https://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/acip/meetings/slides-2022-09-01-02.html (9-21-22)
- https://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/covid-19/downloads/summary-interim-clinical-considerations.pdf (9-21-22)
- https://www.fda.gov/news-events/press-announcements/coronavirus-covid-19-update-fda-authorizes-moderna-pfizer-biontech-bivalent-covid-19-vaccines-use (9-21-22)