Rhode Island to start administering updated COVID-19 booster shot

PROVIDENCE – A new and more comprehensive booster shot for COVID-19 is now available to Rhode Islanders, the R.I. Department of Health recently announced.

The new bivalent booster doses target two strains of COVID-19, protecting people from both the original strain of SARS-CoV-2 and the Omicron variant, as the virus continues to mutate.

The Food and Drug Administration authorized the bivalent boosters of the Moderna Inc. and Pfizer Inc. vaccines on Aug. 31, and Rhode Island announced it would start making the vaccines available to the public the week after. Several pharmacies in the state have already started scheduling appointments for bivalent boosters, while primary care providers have started ordering them.

“This is a good reminder that one of the best ways to protect yourself and your family from COVID-19 is to stay up to date on vaccination,” said Gov. Daniel J. McKee in a statement. “The Rhode Island Department of Health continues to monitor vaccine availability closely and will ensure that this new, more comprehensive booster dose is available for Rhode Islanders as soon as possible.”

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The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is now recommending that all people over 12 years old who received a COVID-19 vaccine now get a bivalent booster, regardless of how many boosters the person has already received. The Moderna vaccine is recommended for anyone 18 and older, while the Pfizer vaccine can be administered to anyone older than 12.

In a health department news release, officials said the state is ensuring that bivalent booster doses are available to residents in long-term care facilities and assisted living facilities.

Claudia Chiappa is a PBN staff writer. You may contact her at Chiappa@PBN.com.