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Published on September 20, 2022

woman receives immunization

New COVID-19 Booster Can Help Keep You Safe

Now’s the time to tune up your defenses against COVID-19. A new formulation of the vaccine – which offers boosted protection against the original virus as well as strains including Omicron – is a safe, effective way to help stop a life-threatening but preventable disease.

“The bivalent nature of the new COVID-19 vaccine as a booster means it can stop more than one type of coronavirus,” said David Basel, MD, Vice President of Avera Medical Group Quality.

The new reformulated, bivalent boosters, recently approved by the FDA, is available in two forms:

  • The Moderna version is good for people 12 and older, and
  • The Pfizer bivalent shot, which is made for people 18 and older

Anyone who has already had other boosters – at least two months ago – can get these improved protective shots.

Scientists remade both Moderna and Pfizer vaccines to offer these expansions in protection. Monovalent vaccines are mostly no longer authorized as boosters.

“Whether you’ve had other boosters or not, this new shot will protect you in added ways than vaccines of the past,” Basel said.

He also said the number of boosters isn’t too important. If you meet the age requirements and it has been two months since your primary dose or last booster – you’re eligible for this one.

COVID vaccinations are available to anyone age 6 months or older. They protect not only the person who gets them, but those they interact with each day. It’s among the simplest ways to avoid hospitalization or worse.

Get Your Booster When the Time Is Right

By now, many people have first-hand knowledge that it’s possible to get COVID even if you’ve been vaccinated, and it’s possible to get COVID again.

“We’re mostly seeing milder cases among people who are already vaccinated. Vaccines are successfully doing what they were designed to do – and that’s to reduce hospitalizations and deaths,” Basel said. “Even if you’ve had COVID, it’s still important to keep getting boosters as they are offered.”

Timing is a factor. “If you had COVID-19, you can wait up to three months before you get the vaccine, because you already have increased immunity,” Basel said. “Getting the booster three months later will extend your immunity for a longer time period.”

For example, if you came down with COVID-19 in July, you may want to wait until October to get your next booster with the new vaccine.

Get Up to Date on all Vaccines, Too

The newest COVID-19 vaccine is not a replacement for an annual flu shot. Everyone should get that protective shot, too, as well as any other recommended vaccines. If it is time for a flu shot, you can get it at the same time as the COVID booster.

“We’ve learned you can get your booster – if the time is right – and your flu shot the same day,” he said. “If you or your children are not up to date on other shots, you should get those too – it’s OK to get more than one immunization at one time.”

You can get your booster vaccination – often for no cost – from your primary care provider or in many pharmacies and other locations.

Learn how to protect yourself from COVID, flu and other issues.

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Avera is a health ministry rooted in the Gospel. Our mission is to make a positive impact in the lives and health of persons and communities by providing quality services guided by Christian values.

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