The Unified Government Health Department is offering the new bivalent COVID boosters beginning this week.
Eligible persons ages 12 and older will be able to receive the bivalent COVID boosters at the Unified Government Health Department, 619 Ann Ave., Kansas City, Kansas, starting today through appointment only, according to a spokesman. To make an appointment for the COVID vaccines and boosters, call 913-573-8815.
The new Pfizer and Moderna boosters are bivalent, meaning they protect against both the original virus that causes COVID as well as the Omicron BA.4 and BA.5 variants of the virus, the variants responsible for most recent COVID cases.
The bivalent booster is available for those ages 12 and older who have completed the primary vaccination series and received their most recent COVID vaccine or booster at least two months ago, according to the Health Department.
The availability of the vaccines follows Federal Drug Administration authorization and recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the Kansas Department of Health and Environment.
The CDC, KDHE and UG Health Department recommend that everyone who is eligible get the new bivalent booster to stay up-to-date on their vaccinations to get the best protection against COVID. The Omicron BA.4 and BA.5 subvariants of the virus began increasing in May 2022, and they now account for almost all recent COVID cases in Kansas, Missouri and the United States, according to the Health Department.
These variants are predicted to continue circulating this fall and winter. These subvariants are more contagious than previous strains of the virus, the Health Department stated. While COVID vaccination and the old boosters still protect against serious illness or hospitalization, they offer limited protection against getting mild to moderate COVID illness from the Omicron BA.4 and BA.5 variants. The new bivalent COVID boosters, however, are made specifically to protect against these subvariants, in addition to continued protection against the original strain, according to the Health Department.
Under the updated Emergency Use Authorizations from the FDA, the previous monovalent boosters, which did not have the same level of protection against Omicron, are no longer authorized for people ages 12 and older, according to the Health Department. For this reason, the Health Department and other COVID vaccine providers had put booster appointments for people ages 12 and older on hold until the new vaccines arrived.
The bivalent COVID boosters are authorized for people ages 12 and older who have been vaccinated and received their most recent dose at least two months ago.
• Individuals ages 12 and older who completed the primary series of COVIC vaccinations at least two months ago, and have not yet received a booster; and
• Individuals ages 12 and older who completed the primary series and have received one or more doses of the previous monovalent COVID booster at least two months ago.
People ages 18 and older can receive either the Pfizer or the Moderna bivalent booster, according to the Health Department. People ages 12 to 17 can only receive the Pfizer bivalent booster at this time.
Recommendations for children under age 12 have not changed. Children ages 6 months and older are eligible to receive a primary series of COVID vaccines. Some children ages 5 to 11 are eligible for the original monovalent booster, Pfizer only at this time.
For more information, see wycokck.org/COVID-19.
– Information from UG Health Department