...That is the question
Let me start off by saying that we understand the bivalent booster vaccine to be safe and have recommended vaccination to families that ask our advice. We have not taken a strong stance to promote or encourage this vaccine to those who are hesitant.
We need more information/data from reliable pediatric champions about how and if the bivalent booster dose will benefit our patients. If a strong endorsement is warranted, we will circle back, make it clear in our NEWS section, and strongly recommend to all families regardless of their hesitation. Please consult with your child's pediatrician if you have questions specific to your child.
For those parents who would like to get their child(ren) vaccinated with the bivalent booster, we provide the following information to guide them:
1. What are the requirements and facts?
This booster is being circulated in response to the current variants of the COVID-19 virus. Currently, the BA.5 strain makes up 90% of all circulating COVID strains.
The vaccine has been updated to better match the Omicron BA.4 and BA.5 strains.
The ACIP recommends it for everyone aged 12 yrs and up who have ALREADY COMPLETED THEIR PRIMARY SERIES with any COVID vaccine product (Pfizer, Moderna, Janssen, Novavax)
Pfizer's Bivalent booster is authorized for 12yrs +
Moderna's Bivalent booster is authorized for 18yrs +
you must be at least 2 months from the last booster dose
2. Is it safe as the monovalent vaccines children have already received?
Yes, based on the current data
Some of the data has been extrapolated from research on the monovalent vaccine
Changing vaccines to match circulating strains is not new. We do this for flu every year
3. How much spacing from a COVID infection has been advised?
You must be clear from active infection and recovered from acute illness at a minimum.
CDC guidance says that it is "probably best to wait at least 3 months after COVID infection for the booster" but this is not necessary for safety.
4. What do we know about the side effects of this booster?
No cases of myocarditis or pericarditis were observed in the studies to date. However, studies are ongoing. There is a greater chance of myocarditis after COVID infection than that related to vaccination
The most common side effects include fatigue, headache, muscle aches, chills, vomiting, fever. Similar to other mRNA vaccines.
5. It is flu season. Do you need to space the Flu and COVID vaccines?
No, it is still fine to give the flu shot with any COVID vaccine, same visit, or within days of each other, or whenever.
CDC encourages you to get both
For more information, check out this CDC link
6. Where to get the vaccine?
Our office does not have this booster available.
The website will be updated with more specific links soon
Please visit the Maryland COVID vaccine link and scroll to bottom of the page. Click the option for the Bivalent booster. Pfizer for those 12+ or Moderna for those 18 yrs +
Remember, your child is eligible for the bivalent booster if your child is over 12 years old and it has been at least 2 months from their last booster.