Governor Hogan Announces Immediate Authorization of New COVID-19 Bivalent Boosters
ANNAPOLIS, MD (STL.News) Governor Larry Hogan announced that state health officials have formally authorized new single-dose bivalent boosters for COVID-19 following approval by both the FDA and the CDC. As part of the state’s COVIDReady plan, Marylanders are encouraged to get this new shot for maximum protection against the virus and circulating Omicron variants.
“This new bivalent booster shot is another important tool in our toolbox to help Marylanders stay COVIDReady,” said Governor Hogan. “While federal guidance has made it confusing at times for people to know if and when they’re eligible, everyone 12 and older will be able to get to this new shot. Maryland continues to be one of the most vaccinated and boosted states, and we have always focused on staying ahead of the virus, which is why getting this new shot is so critical.”
To date, the state has administered nearly 12.9 million COVID-19 vaccines and boosters; 58.3% of Marylanders 12 and older who are eligible for a booster dose have received at least one.
Preordered Doses. The Maryland Department of Health (MDH) preordered 157,600 doses of bivalent boosters (114,000 Pfizer; 43,600 Moderna) for local health departments, federally qualified health centers, and providers across the state. This is in addition to allocations that the federal government has sent directly to pharmacy partners. While some doses are already prepositioned in the state, administration of the new shot is expected to begin widely after Labor Day.
Everyone 12 And Older Eligible. Federal and state health officials are recommending that everyone 12 and older get this updated shot from Pfizer for individuals age 12 years and older and from Moderna for individuals age 18 years and older. Individuals are eligible two months since their last vaccine dose of any kind, whether it is a primary or booster dose. Of note, federal health officials expect to approve updated booster shots for other pediatric groups in the coming weeks.
GoVax Call Center Outreach. The state’s GoVax Call Center—which is available 7 days a week—will begin a new call and text-based outreach campaign to eligible Marylanders next week. The call center continues to offer individuals homebound vaccination options and rideshare options for individuals with transportation access issues. Call 1-855-MDGOVAX (1-855-634-6829) to schedule a booster appointment today.
Stronger Protection Against Omicron Variants. The bivalent booster shot adds Omicron BA.4 and BA.5 spike protein components to the current vaccine in order to target newer, more transmissible variants. The FDA reports a better immune response in people who received the new bivalent booster. As of today, BA.5 currently accounts for 79.2 sequenced cases in the state and 90 percent of sequenced cases in the country. Both BA.4 and BA.5 are predicted to continue to circulate in the United States this fall and winter.
Find a vaccine provider at covidvax.maryland.gov or call 1-855-MDGOVAX (1-855-634-6829) to make an appointment.
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