The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has amended the use authorizations of the Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 bivalent vaccines to simplify the vaccination schedule for most individuals.
This action includes authorizing the current bivalent vaccines (original and omicron BA.4/BA.5 strains) to be used for all doses administered to individuals 6 months of age and older, including for an additional dose or doses for certain populations. The monovalent Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccines are no longer authorized for use in the United States.
What You Need to Know:
Most individuals, depending on age, previously vaccinated with a monovalent COVID-19 vaccine who have not yet received a dose of a bivalent vaccine may receive a single dose of a bivalent vaccine.
Most individuals who have already received a single dose of the bivalent vaccine are not currently eligible for another dose. The FDA intends to make decisions about future vaccination after receiving recommendations on the fall strain composition at an FDA advisory committee in June.
Individuals 65 years of age and older who have received a single dose of a bivalent vaccine may receive one additional dose at least four months following their initial bivalent dose.
Most individuals with certain kinds of immunocompromise who have received a bivalent COVID-19 vaccine may receive a single additional dose of a bivalent COVID-19 vaccine at least two months following a dose of a bivalent COVID-19 vaccine, and additional doses may be administered at the discretion of, and at intervals determined by, their healthcare provider
Most unvaccinated individuals may receive a single dose of a bivalent vaccine, rather than multiple doses of the original monovalent mRNA vaccines.
Children 6 months through 5 years of age who are unvaccinated may receive a two-dose series of the Moderna bivalent vaccine (6 months through 5 years of age) OR a three-dose series of the Pfizer-BioNTech bivalent vaccine (6 months through 4 years of age). Children who are 5 years of age may receive two doses of the Moderna bivalent vaccine or a single dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech bivalent vaccine.
Children 6 months through 5 years of age who have received one, two or three doses of a monovalent COVID-19 vaccine may receive a bivalent vaccine, but the number of doses that they receive will depend on the vaccine and their vaccination history.
“At this stage of the pandemic, data support simplifying the use of the authorized mRNA bivalent COVID-19 vaccines and the agency believes that this approach will help encourage future vaccination,” said Peter Marks, M.D., Ph.D., director of the FDA’s Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research. “Evidence is now available that most of the U.S. population 5 years of age and older has antibodies to SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, either from vaccination or infection that can serve as a foundation for the protection provided by the bivalent vaccines. COVID-19 continues to be a very real risk for many people, and we encourage individuals to consider staying current with vaccination, including with a bivalent COVID-19 vaccine. The available data continue to demonstrate that vaccines prevent the most serious outcomes of COVID-19, which are severe illness, hospitalization, and death.”