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Bivalent COVID-19 Vaccine Endorsed by FDA Panel for All Shots HP NEWS

In a unanimous 21-to-0 vote last week, an advisory board for the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recommended that the original formulation of the COVID-19 vaccine be retired and all shots going forward be the bivalent version, which targets both the original coronavirus strain and circulating omicron variants.

Currently, two types of Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are available. Under the latest guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), initial vaccination begins with two shots of the monovalent (single-strain) vaccine, which was specifically designed to protect against the original form of the virus. After receiving these primary inoculations, booster doses of the newer bivalent vaccine can be administered. These bivalent shots target both the original virus strain as well as the newer omicron variants.

“Now we’re only going to have one vaccine out there that will simplify things for the general public if they haven’t been vaccinated yet, and for providers because they won’t have to keep both kinds of vaccine in stock and be ultra careful to make sure they’re using the correct vaccine for either primary immunization or for boosting,” said William Schaffner, MD, an infectious disease specialist and professor of preventive medicine and health policy at the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine in Nashville, Tennessee, who is not on the advisory panel.

Bivalent COVID-19 Vaccine Produces a Better Immune Response to Variants Now Circulating

Data so far shows that the bivalent shot produces a better response to the COVID-19 strains circulating now. In a study released by the CDC at the end of December 2022 analyzing more than 78,000 COVID-related urgent care and emergency department (ED) visits, those who got updated boosters were 31 percent less likely to go to the ED or urgent care compared with those who had been recently boosted with the original vaccine.



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