This piece originally appeared on Healthfeed.
As the COVID-19 virus continues to develop, so do the vaccines that help fight against the disease. This helps ensure we receive the most protective dose as new variants continue to emerge.
Because of this, everyone aged 6 years and older should get one updated Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna COVID-19 vaccine. A single dose means you are up to date. This dose will continue to protect you from serious illness, hospitalization and death from SARS-CoV-2.
It doesn’t mean the original COVID-19 vaccines don’t work, but they don’t protect you as well the new bivalent vaccines. While the original monovalent vaccine was designed to protect against the original virus that causes COVID-19. the updated vaccines will help protect from both the original virus and the Omicron variants BA.4 and BA.5.
That’s why the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends an updated Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna COVID-19 vaccine even if you’ve received an original COVID-19 vaccine. This dose will continue to protect you and others from infection.
Additional doses of an updated Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna COVID-19 vaccine are recommended for:
- People age 65 years and older
- People who are moderately or severely immunocompromised
An additional dose optimizes the body’s immune system to fight against severe disease from COVID-19 for those who are most vulnerable to infection. If you are eligible for a second updated dose, talk to your doctor.
What about children?
Children aged 6 months and older can receive a Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna COVID-19 vaccine. All eligible children are recommended to get an updated COVID-19 vaccine, even children who have already had COVID-19.
Vaccination guidance varies depending on the age of your child. Speak with your doctor about the COVID-19 vaccination schedule for your child.
What if I can’t get an updated dose?
According to the CDC, people 12 years and older who are unable to, or choose not to, get an updated Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna COVID-19 vaccine can receive the Novavax or the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine. Talk to your doctor for guidance on finding the best vaccine for you.