LONG BEACH, CA – Beginning Wednesday, Oct. 19, the Long Beach Department of Health and Human Services (Health Department) will begin offering the bivalent COVID-19 boosters to everyone 5 years old and older. On Oct. 12, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) amended the emergency use authorization (EUA) of the Pfizer bivalent booster to include children ages 5 to 11 and the EUA of the Moderna bivalent booster to include people ages 6 to 17. This was followed by approvals from both the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) and Centers for Disease Control (CDC) on Oct. 12 and the Western States Scientific Safety Review Workgroup on Oct. 13. The bivalent boosters, also known as updated boosters, provide increased protection against the omicron variant that has been circulating since last year.
“Vaccines and boosters are effective in both mitigating the spread of COVID-19 as well as protecting against severe illness and hospitalization,” said Mayor Robert Garcia. “These updated boosters will now be offered to those ages 5 and older, providing more protection to younger residents. We strongly encourage our community to protect their children by getting them vaccinated and boosted when eligible.”
Pfizer Bivalent COVID-19 Booster
Previously, the Pfizer bivalent boosters were only offered to those ages 12 and older. The Pfizer bivalent booster for children ages 5 to 11 will be a different, lower dose formulation. People ages 5 and older who choose to receive the Pfizer bivalent booster may do so at least two months after they completed their primary series or received their most recent booster, regardless of the total number of booster doses they have already received.
Moderna Bivalent COVID-19 Booster
Previously, the Moderna bivalent booster was only offered to adults ages 18 and older. The Moderna bivalent booster for people ages 6 to 17 will be a lower dose than the one offered to adults. People ages 6 and older who choose to receive the Moderna bivalent booster may do so at least two months after they completed their primary series or received their most recent booster, regardless of the total number of booster doses they have already received.
All minors need parental consent in order to receive a COVID-19 vaccination. The consent form is available online.
Most COVID-19 cases this year have been caused by omicron and its subvariants BA.4 and BA.5. The bivalent boosters offer increased protection as they now contain mRNA components of these subvariants, as well as components of the original strain of the virus. The previous boosters were monovalent and contained mRNA components of the original strain only.
With the FDA’s authorization of bivalent boosters to these new age groups, the previous monovalent boosters are no longer authorized for use; only the new boosters will be administered, starting Wednesday, Oct. 19. With this decision, the Health Department will no longer offer the monovalent boosters effective immediately.
With the BA.4 and BA.5 subvariants predicted to circulate this winter, it is important for all those who are eligible to receive the bivalent booster, and to become vaccinated if they have not already done so. Vaccines are safe and effective in preventing COVID-19 infection and especially effective at preventing hospitalization, serious illness or death among breakthrough cases of the virus. To view the most up-to-date vaccine clinic schedule and to schedule an appointment, visit longbeach.gov/vaxLB or call 562.570.4636.
For the latest information on COVID-19, with details on all that the City of Long Beach is doing to keep our residents safe, visit longbeach.gov/COVID19 and follow @LongBeachCity and @LBHealthDept on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. People may also visit longbeach.gov/COVID19data for up-to-date information regarding cases and vaccines in Long Beach.