Pharmacies carry new bivalent COVID-19 booster

Published: Sep. 13, 2022 at 6:48 PM EDT
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UPPER PENINSULA, Mich. (WLUC) - A new bivalent COVID-19 vaccine was approved last week to prevent the symptoms and spread of COVID-19 variants and it’s now accessible at two U.P. pharmacies: Meijer and CVS.

Meijer Pharmacy Team Leader Adam Lubin says the vaccine is different from other boosters.

“The newly updated vaccine that is out, or what they call the bivalent vaccine, contains the original strain of COVID,” Lubin said. “Along with two additional strains – what we call BA-4 and BA-5, or what is commonly referred to as the Omicron strains.”

Lubin says that although COVID-19 numbers in your area may seem low numbers tend to increase in the fall.

“As our weather is getting cooler, families are spending more time indoors and congregating. So we are starting to see that even flu and COVID activities start to spike back up just a little bit,” Lubin said. “Don’t just relax just because you have seen on the news that COVID has been down a little bit.”

The federal government is continuing to cover the cost of COVID-19 vaccines. Which means this one is free and does not require insurance.

“The important message here is to get your vaccine; there is no financial burden whatsoever whether you are insured or not,” Lubin said.

CVS Pharmacy Manager Amy Lynn Safaty encourages patients to get both their flu vaccine and COVID-19 booster at the same time.

“The great thing about these vaccines is that they are both inactive so they can be given at the same time,” Safaty said. “There are no harsh effects or anything that will come from getting them together. So it’s perfectly safe to administer them at the same time.”

Health experts recommend getting the new COVID-19 vaccine if it has been two months since your last booster.

In addition to the two pharmacies, the Marquette County Health Department (MCHD) will begin offering the bivalent COVID-19 booster this week. MCHD offers appointments for both the Pfizer and Moderna versions of the new vaccine.