You might have heard of bivalent vaccines, but are you still not quite sure what they are? Here’s a quick primer about them and their role in protection against COVID-19.

What is a bivalent vaccine?

  • Bivalent means a vaccine is made to target two strains, or variants, of a virus.
  • The virus that causes COVID-19 has evolved over time and some of these changes have created new variants of concern, such as Omicron.
  • Manufacturers have updated their vaccines to provide better protection against these variants.
  • Original COVID-19 vaccines and bivalent vaccines are both very effective in protecting against severe illness and outcomes from COVID-19.

Why get a booster?

  • Protection from COVID-19 vaccines can decrease over time. Additional doses give you better protection from getting seriously sick or developing complications.
  • Even if you’ve been infected already, staying up to date with your vaccines - including booster doses - is recommended for longer-lasting, more effective protection.
  • If it has been six months since your last dose or since being infected with COVID-19, it is time to get another booster dose. This is especially important if you are at high risk for severe illness from COVID-19.

Bivalent mRNA vaccines are available to everyone 12 years of age and older. Children 5 to 11 years old can still get a booster dose of an original mRNA vaccine, which continues to provide protection against severe illness and complications.

Talk to your local public health authority to learn more about which vaccines are recommended and available for you. You can find more information at