Updated COVID boosters will be available in NJ in a few days

TRENTON — More than 800 vaccine providers in New Jersey are expected to receive the new omicron-specific doses of COVID-19 boosters in the coming days, state officials said Friday.

It is now recommended that people aged 12 and over get a bivalent COVID-19 booster dose, two months after their most recent booster or primary series. The update offers better protections against serious illness and death, but possibly not infection itself, from omicron subvariants.

New Jersey received allocations of Pfizer and Moderna bivalent boosters, which were recommended by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the US Food and Drug Administration. These are currently delivered to vaccine suppliers.

Bivalent vaccines target both the original COVID-19 strain and the BA.4 and BA.5 omicron subvariants that cause most current cases and are expected to circulate this fall and winter.

“COVID-19 vaccines have been shown to be safe and effective and continue to protect against serious disease and save lives,” said Health Commissioner Judith Persichilli. “As children return to school and the upcoming fall and winter holidays, the new bivalent vaccine will provide New Jerseyans with additional protections against these highly transmissible subvariants.”

Individuals can find locations offering the COVID-19 Vaccine Finder and Community Calendar reminders at covid19.nj.gov.

The new Pfizer booster is recommended for people ages 12 and older, while the Moderna booster is recommended for ages 18 and up.

Updated boosters for younger kids might be recommended in the coming weeks.

The Novavax vaccine for teens ages 12 to 17 that became available last week is not cleared for use as a booster dose at this time, according to the CDC.

The state said nearly 81% of New Jersey residents have completed their first round of COVID-19 vaccines and more than 54% have received a first booster.

Michael Symons is the Statehouse Bureau Chief for New Jersey 101.5. You can reach him at [email protected]

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