A new COVID booster became available to people ages 12 and older on Labor Day of 2022. This new bivalent booster provides additional protection against COVID-19 variants like the Omicron that have affected millions of people since the initial vaccine was developed. With the new booster, the CDC has updated its guidance on COVID-19 vaccines. And we’ve consolidated that information into what you need to know about the booster and its availability in the Gallatin Valley.
The new bivalent booster is approved for everyone 12 and older, so if you are of age and have received your initial COVID vaccine you are eligible for the new one. When asked who should be getting the booster, CHP’s Jim Cleary had some advice. “Everybody should get the new COVID booster vaccine, especially patients at risk for severe infection,” said Jim Cleary, MD, a family physician at CHP Bozeman’s medical clinic. “These are safe and effective vaccines and are especially important for patients with chronic health conditions such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, obesity, and those who are immunocompromised.”
According to the CDC, you don’t actually need to wait to get your booster. Their guidelines do say that if you recently had COVID you may consider delaying your next vaccine dose by three months from when your symptoms started or your first positive test. While reinfection is less likely weeks or months following infection, there are other circumstances that may lead to you wanting a vaccine sooner. Among these are high risk of severe illness, close contact with a positive case, local community levels, and common variants.
You are considered up to date on your COVID vaccines if you have completed the primary series and received the most current booster recommended by the CDC at least two monts after your initial series. If you are under 12, that means just completing your primary series, but older than 12 you are eligible for the new booster. You will still be considered “fully vaccinated” with completion of a primary series, the booster is not required but highly recommended.
There is no recommended waiting period between getting a COVID vaccine and any other vaccine, including a flu shot. If you had a difficult recovery time with the primary series of COVID vaccine, you may want to space out your vaccinations, but you are able to get multiples at the same time.
All of our CHP clinic locations in the Gallatin Valley have COVID vaccines available, both the primary series and the bivalent booster. Make an appointment at one of our clinics today to receive your COVID vaccine. Gallatin City-County Health Department is also offering weekly vaccine clinics in an effort to keep our community safe. There are also several local pharmacies throughout the county now offering the bivalent booster, you can find these here.
The bottom line is these new COVID bivalent boosters are safe and effective at preventing serious illness in people age 12 and older and are recommended by doctors.