The Georgia Department of Public Health will start offering the new bivalent COVID-19 booster this week when it arrives in the state.
The bivalent booster, manufactured by Pfizer, was recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices. The booster was recommended for individuals aged 12 and older. The Moderna-manufactured bivalent booster was recommended by the same groups for those 18 and older.
The current COVID-19 booster doses contain the genetic recipe for the original strain of COVID-19. The bivalent vaccine contains the genetic recipes for two versions of COVID-19; the original strain, plus the omicron subvariants BA.4 and BA.5, offering better protection against the currently circulating COVID-19 variants. People should wait at least two months after completing their initial vaccination or their last booster shot before getting the bivalent booster.
District 4 Public Health’s county health departments are expected to receive the new boosters within the next few weeks. District 4 includes Butts, Carroll, Coweta, Fayette, Heard, Henry, Lamar, Meriwether, Pike, Spalding, Troup and Upson counties.
At this time, the bivalent vaccine is considered only a booster. It is not to be used as the initial two-dose COVID-19 vaccine. The monovalent mRNA COVID-19 vaccines will still be administered for the primary series of vaccines and as a booster for children under the age of 12.
Georgia is currently seeing an average of 3,000 cases of COVID-19 reported a week. More than 89 percent of newly reported COVID-19 cases are caused by the BA.5 variant. Hospitalizations and deaths from COVID-19 continue to decrease in the state.
In addition to vaccination and boosters, basic prevention measures should also be followed to help prevent further spread of COVID-19 and mitigate outbreaks of infection, especially in public settings: wear a mask, physically distance and wash your hands frequently with soap and water.