The Health Department announces changes to simplify the COVID-19 vaccination schedule by utilizing the current Pfizer and Moderna updated (bivalent) vaccines to be used for all doses administered to individuals 6 months of age and older. The updated vaccines from Moderna and Pfizer target the original strain as well as the BA.4 and BA.5 subvariants of the Omicron variant. This action suspends the use of Pfizer’s and Moderna’s monovalent mRNA vaccines, which protect only against the original strain of the coronavirus.
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also recommends an additional updated dose or doses for eligible populations. Individuals over the age of 65 who have received one updated dose are eligible for one additional shot at least four months following their initial bivalent vaccine. Immunocompromised individuals who have already received an updated COVID-19 vaccine may receive an additional updated dose at least two months after their last updated vaccination. Additional doses for immunocompromised individuals may be administered at the discretion of their healthcare provider.
The CDC recommends that everyone ages 6 years and older receive an updated COVID-19 vaccine, regardless of whether they previously completed their monovalent primary series. Residents who previously received a single bivalent vaccine are not currently eligible for an additional updated dose.
“This updated vaccination schedule is the biggest step towards normalcy that we have had since the start of the pandemic. At this stage, evidence demonstrates that most of the U.S. population 5 years and older have some protection against COVID-19, either from vaccination or infection. Residents are encouraged to build that protection by staying up to date with their vaccination schedules. COVID-19 still poses a threat to many residents in Hamilton County and vaccines are the best way to prevent severe illness or hospitalization,” says Dr. Stephen Miller, Hamilton County Health Department’s Health Officer.
Children six months through five years of age, who are unvaccinated, may receive a three-dose series of Pfizer’s updated vaccine. Children who are five years old may receive a single dose of Pfizer’s updated vaccine.
Children six months through five years of age who have received one, two, or three doses of a monovalent COVID-19 vaccine may receive an updated vaccine but the number of doses they will receive is dependent on the vaccine manufacturer and what dose they were on within that series.
The Pfizer and Moderna updated (bivalent) vaccines are available at all Health Department locations. For clinic locations and hours, please visit Health.HamiltonTN.gov. If you have questions, please call 423-209-8383.