CDC: Being up to date with COVID-19 vaccines means getting latest booster dose

Bivalent boosters target Omicron subvariants causing most U.S. cases

With the arrival of updated boosters, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says being up to date with COVID-19 vaccination means completing a primary series and receiving the most recent booster dose it recommends for you.

On Sept. 1, the CDC recommended updated COVID-19 boosters from Pfizer-BioNTech for people 12 and older and from Moderna for people 18 and older, after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration authorized each booster for those respective age groups on Aug. 31. The CDC expects to recommend updated COVID-19 boosters for other pediatric groups in the coming weeks.

The updated boosters are bivalent vaccines, meaning they target the most recent Omicron subvariants, known as BA.4 and BA.5, as well as the original SARS-CoV-2 strain. Vaccine boosters help to restore protection that has waned since previous vaccination, and in this case, they provide broader protection. The BA.4 and BA.5 subvariants are currently causing most cases of COVID-19 in the U.S., and they are predicted to be circulating this fall and winter.

People are eligible to receive an updated booster two months after their last vaccination, whether it was a primary or booster dose. The only booster that is currently authorized for people 12 and older is the bivalent booster. They can no longer receive the monovalent vaccine that only targeted the original SARS-CoV-2 strain as a booster dose.

For a detailed breakdown of vaccination recommendations, based on age, first vaccine received and time since last dose, as well as recommendations for people who are immunocompromised, visit the CDC website. Recipients are considered up to date immediately after receiving the last vaccine dose recommended for them.

The CDC may update its COVID-19 vaccine and booster recommendations as it continues to monitor the latest data.