What you should know about the new Covid-19 booster vaccine (2024)

North Carolina, Raleigh - Starting this week Nearly 500,000 updated bivalent booster vaccines will arrive in North Carolina. These updates will combat the dominant strains of Omicron, known as BA.4 and BA.5.

These two omicron subvariants are considered the most contagious so far, because they have mutations that allow them to evade immunity.

These vaccine doses will be distributed through county health departments in the state. At least 229,999 doses will be distributed to pharmacies (CVS, Walgreens and others) around North Carolina.

Below are a series of common questions and answers about this booster vaccine against omicron subvariants, with information provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

What does it mean that they are bivalent booster vaccines?

"Combined or bivalent vaccines" contain half the original vaccine that has been used since December 2020 and half the protection against today's dominant versions of omicron, BA.4 and BA.5.

It is the first update of the Covid-19 vaccines approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

This process is similar to that used to create the annual flu vaccine that is developed to address new strains each year.

As of mid-August, omicron variants accounted for nearly 90% of Covid-19 cases in North Carolina.

When and where it will be available the ambivalent booster vaccine

Starting this week, the doses will be distributed through county health department clinics and local pharmacies (CVS, Walgreens, and others), which mostly began offering them on Tuesday, September 6.

Wake County: Starting Thursday, September 8 at 5:00 pm, there will be five sites that will begin offering bivalent booster doses.

Appointments are required and can be made online at this link

Appointments can also be made at supermarket pharmacies and churches in Wake County, at the following link: wakegov.com/vaccine

County Durham: A vaccination clinic opened today, Wednesday, September 7, where people can arrive without an appointment, nor does it require identification. You can see the schedules and information here

Orange County: To make a vaccination appointment with the county health department, you can call: 919-913-8088.

Mecklenburg County: The vaccine will be distributed at five county health department clinics, Monday through Friday from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm Also through StarMed.

For more information on clinics and other places to get the vaccine, you can follow this link

To find information on where to find the Covid-19 vaccine in other counties, you can search the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS) site. here

Who is eligible

As a result of the FDA's action, the original booster dose, which contains a strain of the virus, is authorized for people 12 years and older.

People ages 5 to 11 can still receive the original booster dose, but updated bivalent booster doses are expected to be available for younger people in the coming weeks.

This updated bivalent dose can be administered regardless of how many boosters the person has had.


Moderna's bivalent vaccine is authorized for use as a single booster dose in people 18 years of age and older. The requirement is that two months have passed since they completed their primary vaccination schedule.

The bivalent Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine is authorized for use as a single booster dose in people 12 years of age and older. The requirement is the same as with the Moderna vaccine.

What to do if the original reinforcement has just been put in

The FDA set the minimum waiting time for the new dose at two months. But CDC advisers said it's better to wait longer. Some advise at least three months, others say someone who is not at high risk could wait up to six months.

Dr. Sarah Long, a CDC advisor, said that if you “wait a little longer, you get a better immune response.”

Experts say this is because someone who recently received a booster already has more virus-fighting antibodies in their bloodstream.

Antibodies gradually decrease over time, and another injection too soon would not offer much additional benefit.

If you recently recovered from Covid-19

The CDC has said people should delay getting vaccinated until they have recovered from the virus, but they can consider waiting at least three months after recovering to get vaccinated.

CDC advisers say waiting the three months is important, both to get more potential benefit from the shot and to reduce the chances of a rare side effect, as well as heart inflammation, which sometimes affects teenagers and young men.

It can be administered at the same time as vaccination against flu

The answer is yes. According to the CDC, bivalent booster doses from Pfizer and Moderna can be administered along with the vacuna annual against influenza.

Is this updated booster safe?

The basic ingredients used in both updated vaccines targeting the Omicron variants are the same as the original vaccine.

Testing by Pfizer and Moderna of their versions targeting the BA.1 variant proved safe in human studies. Because of this, CDC advisors concluded that the small additional change in the prescription should be no different.

This is the same as flu vaccines, which are updated every year without human trials.

Where to get more information on updated bivalent vaccines

More information about vaccines, booster doses, tests and treatments and vaccination centers against Covid-19 and flu, visit:Vaccinate.nc.gov

You can also contact the North Carolina Covid-19 Vaccine Help Center at: 1-888-675-4567.


What you should know about the new Covid-19 booster vaccine (2024)


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