This vaccine promises protection against even the most contagious strains
In an effort to continue keeping the population safe from the ravages of Covid-19, last week the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) authorized the use of a new booster vaccine. Then the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) began recommending it.
The updated vaccine is bivalent, that is, it already has the protein components to prevent the omicron strain, specifically its BA.4 and BA.5 variants. These variants have been shown to be more transmissible and immunoevasive.
On Wednesday during a virtual press conference, the importance of continuing to be vaccinated against covid-19 and using the new booster as soon as possible was reiterated.
The emergency use authorization for the updated Covid-19 booster vaccines are; Moderna’s bivalent booster for ages 18 and older; and Pfizer-BioNTech’s bivalent booster for ages 12 and older.
Those interested must have completed the first series of doses of vaccines against covid-19, said Dr. Gil Chavez, deputy director of the Center for Infectious Diseases of the California Department of Public Health (CDPH).
People must wait at least two months to receive the new bivalent vaccine booster.
Chávez asserted that it is good news to know that there is a new improved booster, mainly because in the last two years the vaccines against Covid have turned out to be an extraordinary tool.
“Vaccines have literally saved millions of lives, they have helped protect us against the worst outcomes of the virus and frankly they have helped us get ahead as a community,” said the doctor, who gave his own experience as an example.
Chávez said that for more than two years he was protecting himself from being infected with Covid-19, but a few months ago he finally had his close encounter with the virus.
“I was very happy that I had my two initial vaccinations and my booster because the infection that it gave me was mild and lasted two or three days and without any long-term consequences,” explained the doctor. “As an older person, I was worried that if [I hadn’t had] any vaccine I would have ended up in the hospital or even died.”
He said that at home his wife, children and grandchildren are vaccinated and this has allowed them to continue having a normal life and with fewer worries.
Booster Vaccines Arrive in California
California has already received the first 600,000 doses that are already available in clinics, pharmacies and other health providers in the state.
An additional 400,000 doses are expected to arrive in the coming days.
“This is the first million doses that California will receive. More doses will come later,” Chavez said. “We hope that in the coming weeks there will be doses of vaccine for all those who need it.”
He said distribution to high-need areas is a priority for the California department of public health. The goal is to continue the trajectory of having low cases. But most importantly, prevent increased cases in the winter.
“That’s why public health officials are urging people to get the updated booster,” Chavez said.
Dr. Chavez said all covid-19 vaccines require a booster shot to ensure continued protection against serious illness. Primary protection against infection can wane over time, and booster doses are a sure way to renew protection and reduce serious consequences of the virus.
It can be compared to the influenza virus, whose vaccines include the strains that have been around the country to protect them.
“With covid-19 we are moving more in that direction, in that we think that in the future we will have a reinforcement against covid every year as we have against influenza,” said Chávez.
The new reinforcements that are now available offer better protection from the omicron variants that spread widely during the spring and summer and continue to circulate.
“The reinforcements we are using will no longer be available. These new boosters will immediately replace existing vaccines for people 12 years of age and older,” Chavez said.
He added that people can get their updated booster regardless of previous vaccinations.
Although masks are no longer required, health officials have recommended that people wear their well-fitting masks with good filtration when indoors. Also get tested for covid if they have symptoms like a runny nose, sore throat, and sneezing or coughing.
Additionally, people are asked to use better ventilation in closed spaces and to stay home when they feel sick.