Updated COVID-19 booster vaccines that target the previously vaccine-resistant “Omicron” mutation of the virus are now available, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services said Wednesday.
The shots are known as “bivalent” boosters because they have been retooled to offer protection against the original strain of the virus in addition to the genetically similar Omicron variants BA.4 and BA.5.
You can find the nearest clinic that offers them now at vaccines.gov.
“This is great news as we go into the fall and winter when we expect cases of COVID-19 to increase,” said Dr. Natasha Bagdasarian, Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) chief medical executive. “The bivalent booster will help fight the Omicron subvariants, including BA.4 and 5. COVID-19 vaccines remain our best defense against the virus, and we recommend all Michiganders stay up to date.”
The bivalent boosters come from pharmaceutical companies Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna. The Pfizer-BioNTech boosters are available to people age 12 and older, while the Moderna boosters are available to people age 18 and older. The one-dose booster vaccines are available if it has been at least two months since previous vaccination.
It doesn’t matter which version you get, officials say. If you previously got Pfizer doses you can switch to Moderna, or vice versa.
The federal Food and Drug Administration approved the use of the boosters last month. The Biden administration compared the updated shots to those of the flu vaccine.
“As the virus continues to change, we will now be able to update our vaccines annually to target the dominant variant,” President Joe Biden said in a statement. “Just like your annual flu shot, you should get it sometime between Labor Day and Halloween.”
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in June 2022 unvaccinated people had twice the risk of testing positive for COVID-19 and eight times the risk of dying.
To date, nearly 6.8 million Michiganders ages 5 and up have gotten at least their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccines.
More information about the COVID-19 vaccine is available at michigan.gov/COVIDvaccine.