New Bivalent COVID-19 Booster Now Available


Priyanka Lucey

From September 25th to October 2nd, COVID-19 cases in Dane County dropped to a seven-day average of 112 cases, the lowest seen since April 6, 2022. The community COVID level also dropped from Medium to Low, along with many other Wisconsin counties. Currently, 56 Wisconsin counties have low COVID-19 community levels, along with 13 counties with medium levels, and 3 counties with high levels. Dane County also has the highest vaccination rate in the state, with 85.9% of residents having at least one dose, 80.0% with a completed primary series, and over half have received at least one booster dose. However, cases will likely start to rise as temperatures drop and indoor gatherings become more common. It is important to remember to wash your hands frequently, stay home and get tested if you feel sick, and listen to public health officials’ recommendations regarding prevention measures. 

In early September, the FDA issued an Emergency Use Authorization for the Pfizer and Moderna Bivalent COVID-19 boosters for ages 12 & up and 18 & older respectively. Designed to target Omicron variants BA.4 and BA.5, these doses contain mRNA genetic material from the virus that instructs the cells in the body to create the “spike” protein contained in both the original virus strain and the Omicron variant strains. Clinical trials of over 600 participants showed that both bivalent boosters substantially increased protection from Omicron variants when compared to the primary series on its own. 

The FDA also revised the Emergency Use Authorizations for Moderna and Pfizer’s earlier monovalent boosters. These boosters can no longer be administered to adults and teens ages 12 and up who are eligible for the bivalent boosters. Monovalent vaccines continue to be allowed for use in primary series and as boosters for children 11 and under, but the only approved booster doses for ages 12 and up are bivalent. This is because the variants targeted by the monovalent boosters have mutated over time and are no longer responsible for a considerable amount of infections, so it is more beneficial to receive an updated bivalent booster that does target variants currently responsible for most infections. 

These boosters are available for anyone 12 and older who received their last booster or primary series vaccination more than 2 months ago. Anyone who has tested positive for COVID in the past three months may still get a booster, but it is recommended to wait about three months after a positive test. Bivalent booster vaccination appointments are available at many local Walgreens and CVS pharmacies, as well as doctors’ offices. To learn more about the new booster or make an appointment, visit or or contact your local healthcare provider.