The CDC recently updated COVID-19 vaccine recommendations to provide options for people at higher risk who will benefit from additional COVID-19 vaccine doses and to simplify vaccine schedules.
Bivalent mRNA booster vaccination is an effective and essential tool to reduce the risk of hospitalization and death due to COVID-19. Vaccinating long-term care facility (LTCF) residents and staff against COVID-19 remains a crucial step in preventing COVID-19 in long-term care facilities. DPH and Mass Senior Care strongly urge long term care facilities to continue to provide and administer COVID-19 booster vaccine to all eligible residents and staff.
New Information on COVID-19 Vaccines:
- The original Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 mRNA virus vaccines, called monovalent because they target only the original virus are no longer recommended for use in the United States.
- Individuals ages 6 years and older who are unvaccinated or previously received only monovalent vaccine doses are recommended to receive ONE bivalent mRNA vaccine dose. The bivalent vaccine provides protection against both the original and omicron strains of COVID-19.
- Individuals 65 years of age and older who have received a single dose of a bivalent mRNA COVID-19 vaccine (either Moderna COVID-19 Vaccine or Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19) vaccine should receive one additional dose at least 4 months following their initial bivalent dose.
- Individuals with moderate to severely immunocompromising conditions who have received a bivalent COVID-19 vaccine should receive a single additional dose of a bivalent COVID-19 vaccine at least 2 months following a dose of a bivalent COVID-19 vaccine. Additional age-appropriate doses may be administered to immunocompromised individuals at the discretion of, and at intervals determined by their healthcare provider.
- Most individuals, depending on age, previously vaccinated with a monovalent COVID-19 vaccine who have not yet received a dose of a bivalent mRNA COVID-19 vaccine should receive a single dose of a bivalent vaccine.
- Most people unvaccinated will receive a single bivalent mRNA COVID-19 vaccine.
- Adults and children aged 6 years and older are considered up to date with COVID-19 vaccines if they received one bivalent mRNA COVID-19 vaccine.
- Novavax COVID-19 Vaccine: Individuals ages 12 years an older who previously received 1 or 2 monovalent Novavax COVID-19 primary series dose(s) are recommended to receive 1 bivalent mRNA vaccine dose. The monovalent Novavax COVID-19 Vaccine remains authorized for use as a 2-dose primary series and as a booster dose in certain limited situations.
- Janssen COVID-19 Vaccine: The monovalent Janssen COVID-19 Vaccine is authorized for use in certain limited situations due to safety considerations. The Janssen vaccine is expiring in early May 2023 and will no longer be available.
Access to vaccine:
LTC facilities should continue to contact their LTC pharmacies to obtain booster doses of the bivalent mRNA Pfizer or Moderna vaccine. All LTC Pharmacies should have the vaccine readily available for your facility. If your LTC pharmacy does not have access to the bivalent mRNA Pfizer or Moderna vaccine, please contact the Bureau of the Health Care Safety and Quality at DPH.BHCSQ@MassMail.State.MA.US