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Georgia DPH to begin offering new bivalent COVID-19 booster
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The Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH) will begin offering the new bivalent COVID-19 booster this week as shipments of the vaccine arrive in the state. 

According to a press release by the DPH, the bivalent vaccine is aimed to offer enhanced protection against COVID-19 and its currently circulating variants. 

“The current COVID booster doses contain the genetic recipe for the original strain of COVID-19,” the release said. “The bivalent vaccine contains the genetic recipes for two versions of COVID-19; the original strain, plus the omicron sub variants BA.4 and BA.5, offering better protection against the currently circulating COVID-19 variants.” 

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (AACIP) recommend the bivalent booster manufactured by Pfizer for individuals 12 years and older, and they recommend the bivalent booster by Modern for adults 18 years or older. People should wait at least two months after completing their initial vaccination or their last booster shot before getting the bivalent booster. 

At this time, the bivalent vaccine is considered only a booster and is not to be used as the initial two-dose COVID vaccine, the release said. The monovalent mRNA COVID-19 vaccines will still be administered for the primary series of vaccine and as a booster for children under 12 years old. 

The release added that Georgia is currently seeing an average of 3,000 cases of COVID reported a week, and hospitalizations and deaths from COVID continue to decrease in the state. Over 89 percent of newly reported COVID cases are caused by the BA.5 variant.

In addition to vaccination and boosters, the DPH continues to remind people to take basic prevention measures against the spread of COVID-19, including wearing a mask, social distancing, and frequent hand washing. 

For more information about vaccination and boosters, go to https://itsthatsimplega.gov/