“You Asked, We Answered” is a regular series from VHA providing answers to pertinent medical medical questions. This week’s post is about the COVID-19 booster.
What is different about the updated COVID-19 booster vaccines?
Updated COVID-19 bivalent booster vaccines are designed to offer the best possible protection against both the original virus strain that causes COVID-19 and its Omicron variant. These bivalent vaccines, provided by Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech, improve upon the monovalent vaccines used throughout the pandemic by adding protection against newer strains.
When you receive an updated booster dose, you will have greater protection against various forms of COVID-19.
Am I eligible to receive an updated COVID-19 booster dose?
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that you can receive an updated COVID-19 booster dose if you are 12 years of age or older and have already completed a COVID-19 vaccine primary series. To be eligible, you must also have received your last dose of COVID-19 vaccine at least two months before your updated booster.
Even if you have already received one or more boosters with the previous monovalent vaccine, and/or have had COVID-19, this new vaccine offers broader protection against newer virus strains and is recommended.
I recently had COVID-19. How long should I wait before receiving an updated COVID-19 booster dose?
If you have recently had COVID-19, you may consider delaying your dose by three months from when your symptoms started or from when you first received a positive test. As long as you are otherwise eligible, you can receive an updated COVID-19 booster as soon as you have recovered from the infection and safely finished isolating. Even if you have recently had COVID-19, staying up to date with an updated booster dose will strengthen your protection against COVID-19 in the future.
Will an updated COVID-19 booster protect me from flu?
No. To protect yourself from COVID-19 and flu, you will need to receive both an updated COVID-19 booster and a flu shot. If you are eligible to receive an updated COVID-19 booster, you can also safely get your flu shot during the same visit. VA encourages all eligible Veterans to best protect themselves against both COVID-19 and flu.
VA program information
Keep an eye out for more answers to your COVID-19 and vaccine questions and remember to follow good health habits in the meantime.
If you need to schedule a vaccination appointment, you can use CDC or VA tools to find the right location for you. VA continues to offer COVID-19 vaccination at no cost, as well as free COVID-19 testing for eligible Veterans.