Continue to Identify Patients Who May Need a Bivalent COVID-19 Booster

Lots of people who are eligible for a COVID-19 bivalent booster aren’t current with vaccination.

About 70% of the US population completed the primary series...but only 16% have received a bivalent booster.

It’s partly because some people think they’re immune...don’t know they’re eligible...are concerned about side effects...etc.

But COVID-19 infection is still leading to thousands of new hospitalizations and hundreds of deaths daily.

And adults who’ve had a bivalent booster have a lower risk of urgent care visits and hospitalizations than those who haven’t.

Continue to help identify patients who may need a booster, such as by asking about vaccines when taking med histories.

Keep in mind that a bivalent COVID-19 booster is recommended for individuals 6 months and up who’ve completed their primary series with monovalent vaccines.

For now, don’t expect to dispense more than one bivalent booster for any patient...even if they’re over 65 or have a weakened immune system. There’s not enough evidence of benefit yet. But expect FDA and CDC to reassess this soon.

Anticipate that clinicians will address concerns or misconceptions.

For example, people may hear about a possible stroke risk with the Pfizer-BioNTech bivalent booster that surfaced in one safety monitoring system. But it didn’t pan out in other databases or countries.

Plus acute COVID-19 infection is linked to higher risk of stroke.

Later this year, expect to see bivalent vaccines for the primary annual booster...and fewer vaccines to limit errors.

Be aware that combo flu and COVID-19 vaccines are in the works...but won’t likely be ready this year.

Compare products with our COVID-19 Vaccines resource.

Key References

  • (3-30-23)
  • (3-30-23)
Hospital Pharmacy Technician's Letter. April 2023, No. 390408

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