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ADPH: Still time to get updated vaccine before the Christmas holidays

While the holiday season is well underway, the Alabama Department of Public Health encourages you to make time in your busy schedule to get up to date with your COVID-19 vaccinations if you haven’t already. Family, friends and others you encounter in the days to come are vulnerable to infection and may not be able to protect themselves from the virus. Anyone infected with COVID-19 can spread it, even without symptoms.

Consider the benefits of vaccination in preventing hospitalizations and deaths for those at higher risk: Children under 5 are not yet eligible for the boosters and immunocompromised people, such as those who have had cancer or are age 65 and older, are at greater risk of becoming sick or dying from COVID, even with vaccination.

Everyone 6 months and older should get all doses in their COVID-19 vaccine primary series. For your primary series, Moderna, Pfizer-BioNTech and Novavax COVID-19 vaccines are recommended. Then the newer bivalent COVID-19 booster shots will help protect against the original SARS-CoV-2 virus and the Omicron variants BA.4 and BA.5.

While it is not clear that the booster vaccine fully protects against these variants, getting a booster has higher neutralizing antibodies against the Omicron variants and can reduce the risk of spreading COVID19 to others in our communities in the coming months. Studies show that adverse events reported after a bivalent booster dose appear consistent with those reported after a monovalent booster and are less common and less serious than the health impacts associated with COVID-19 illness.

If it has been at least 2 months since your last COVID-19 vaccine dose, the Moderna COVID-19 Vaccine, Bivalent, is authorized as a single booster dose for ages 6 and older. The Pfizer-BioNTech Vaccine, Bivalent, is authorized for use as a single booster dose for ages 5 and older. If you are hesitant about getting a COVID-19 vaccine or booster, please discuss it with your healthcare provider. The sooner you are vaccinated, the sooner you have protection. To find COVID-19 vaccination locations near you, search vaccines.gov, text your zip code to 438829, or call 1-800-232-0233