New COVID boosters arrive for Essex County’s Monday clinics

Registered nurse Katie Beaton gives a new bivalent booster shot during the Essex County Heath Department’s first Monday booster clinic on Sept. 12 at the department’s headquarters in Elizabethtown. (News photo)

The Essex County Health Department is offering upgraded booster shots for the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines at the department’s vaccine clinics starting on Monday, Sept. 12.

The updated boosters, called “bivalent boosters,” add components of recent variants of the coronavirus — including omicron BA.4 and BA.5 — to the existing vaccine, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The added components help to boost protection that has waned in previous vaccines and boosters by targeting variants that are more contagious and immunity-resistant, according to the CDC. Up until now, according to the ECHD, booster shots have been monovalent or univalent — meaning they’ve only included components of the original strain of COVID-19.

“The Essex County Health Department is prioritizing the bivalent booster as schools are back in session and the colder months are almost upon us,” Essex County Public Health Director Linda Beers said in a statement Friday, Sept. 9. “We want to improve our timeliness and accessibility for those who wish to receive this variant-specific booster.”

People ages 12 and older are eligible for a Pfizer bivalent booster dose at least two months after their previous booster dose or two months after completing their initial primary vaccine series. People ages 18 and older are eligible for the Moderna bivalent booster dose under the same parameters.

People from ages 5 to 11 are eligible for a Pfizer monovalent booster dose at least five months after completing their primary vaccine series.

Registration for the ECHD’s vaccine clinics, which run from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. every Monday at the department’s building at 132 Water St. in Elizabethtown, is available on the department’s website. Registration for the clinics is required.

Starting at $1.44/week.

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