Better with Boosters – Latest Guidance on the COVID-19 Booster

Health & Wellness  |  February 3, 2023

Guidance on the COVID-19 Booster

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond, the health and safety of all of our residents, their family and friends, and our team members remains our highest priority. In response to this public health emergency, our clinical team responded quickly and effectively to create coronavirus-specific policies and procedures to help protect our loved ones. In addition, our communities rallied together to host vaccine events and booster clinics to encourage all eligible residents and team members to conveniently get appropriate boosters with the support of our pharmacy partners.

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), COVID-19 vaccines are one of the most effective ways to prevent the harshest effects of COVID-19. The CDC considers a person to be “up to date” on their vaccinations when they have received all COVID-19 vaccines, including any booster dose(s). Research suggests that getting a booster dose can decrease your risk of infection and severe illness with COVID-19. And older adults and those with underlying health conditions are especially vulnerable to severe disease. Boosters are important because immunity from prior infection or vaccination wanes over time. In addition, it’s possible that the virus that causes COVID-19 changes so the immune system doesn’t recognize it as well.

The best way to protect yourself is to get a bivalent booster shot. The bivalent boosters are called “bivalent” because they protect against both the original virus that causes COVID-19 and the Omicron variant BA.4 and BA.5. Scientists expect them to provide broad protection against newer variants as well. Keep in mind with the updated boosters—and most vaccines, for that matter—that they may not fully protect against infection, but will protect against severe illness, hospitalization, and death.

CDC recommends one updated (bivalent) booster dose:

  • For everyone aged 5 years and older if it has been at least 2 months since your last dose. This applies even if you had COVID.
  • For children aged 6 months–4 years who completed the Moderna primary series and if it has been at least 2 months since their last dose.

On Jan. 25, the CDC reported that vaccinated people who were boosted with the bivalent shot were half as likely as vaccinated people who didn’t get the bivalent booster to become infected with these variants and experience at least one symptom of COVID-19. On the same day, in a letter published in the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM), scientists at the University of Texas and Pfizer-BioNTech (which makes one of the FDA-authorized bivalent shots), reported that the bivalent vaccine still provides some protection against BQ.1.1 and XBB.1.

In our CLC – Cappella communities, we continue to encourage everyone to please become immunized against the COVID-19 virus, including the booster dose(s). We know there may be questions about the COVID-19 booster such as why it is necessary and exactly what is in the booster dose. Please find below a list of FAQs surrounding the bivalent booster dose.

What is the bivalent booster?The bivalent vaccine is formulated as a 50/50 combination of the original vaccine and a vaccine that targets the Omicron variants. This teaches the body to make two types of barriers against COVID-19, allowing it to work well against newer variants.


Why should one get the bivalent booster?


Adults 65+ who receive the bivalent booster reduced their risk of being hospitalized by 73% compared with those who had two or more doses of the original vaccine. Plus, if they get COVID-19, they are 43% less likely to experience symptoms. Getting the bivalent is also a way to prevent getting Long COVID, which has been so debilitating. There are more symptoms of Long COVID in those who had COVID-19 and were unvaccinated versus those who were vaccinated. 


Is the bivalent booster safe?


The side effects of the bivalent booster are the same as the original 650 million doses administered in the United States and show incredibly safe vaccination.


Who is eligible to receive the bivalent booster?Almost everyone who is 6 months of age or older is eligible to receive the bivalent booster. One must have received the primary vaccine series and wait at least two months since their last dose of either the primary series or original booster before they are eligible to receive the bivalent booster.


Why do I need to get a booster shot if I have already had COVID-19?If you have had COVID-19 within the past three months, you have some protection against the virus and may delay getting the bivalent booster. However, this protection decreases over time, especially against serious illness, hospitalization or death. If it has been three months or more since your last infection, it is recommended that you get a bivalent booster.





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