LEONARDTOWN, Md. – In accordance with amended authorization from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, the St. Mary’s County Health Department (SMCHD) will follow the new bivalent COVID-19 vaccine recommendations for the Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccines to simplify the vaccination schedule for most individuals.
The updated booster is a formula that both boosts immunity against the original coronavirus strain and also protects against the newer Omicron variants that account for most of the current cases.
What has changed:
- Adults age 65 and older and immunocompromised people can get an additional COVID-19 vaccine dose.
- Monovalent (original) COVID-19 mRNA vaccines will no longer be recommended for use in the U.S.
- Individuals 5 years of age and older who are not yet vaccinated are eligible to receive a single dose of the bivalent vaccine as the primary series.
What has not changed:
- Everyone ages 6 years and older are recommended to receive an updated (bivalent) mRNA COVID-19 vaccine. Individuals ages 6 years and older who have already received an updated mRNA vaccine do not need to take any action unless they are 65 years or older or immunocompromised.
- For young children, multiple doses continue to be recommended and will vary by age, vaccine, and which vaccines were previously received.
“These updated recommendations will simplify the vaccine schedule and hopefully encourage community members to stay up-to-date with their vaccine,” said Dr. Meena Brewster, St. Mary’s County Health Officer. “Moving forward we expect that vaccines may be periodically updated similarly to how we update the flu vaccine annually. This should help community members better protect themselves from the circulating strains of COVID-19.”
COVID-19 vaccines continue to be available at the SMCHD Health Clinic in Leonardtown on Tuesdays and Fridays from 8:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. by appointment only. To make a vaccine appointment, please call SMCHD at 301-475-4330. COVID-19 vaccines are also available through primary care offices and local pharmacies.
For more information about COVID-19 testing and vaccinations, please visit smchd.org/coronavirus