The newest COVID-19 vaccine booster will be available at vaccination sites in Washington, D.C., starting Wednesday, Sept. 7, officials announced.
The new boosters are known as bivalent boosters, meaning they target both the original COVID-19 strain plus the omicron, BA.4 and BA.5 variants.
“We fully expect that the updated bivalent vaccines containing BA.4 and BA.5 sequences will offer better protection against currently circulating strains than the original vaccines, although it is difficult to predict at this point how much better that protection will be,” Dr. Anthony Fauci said.
D.C. residents can find the updated shots at pharmacies, walk-up vaccine clinics and COVID Centers in all eight wards. You can also contact your own health provider or make an at-home vaccination appointment by calling 1-855-363-0333. Find more information at vaccines.gov.
DC Health urged everyone 12 and older to update their COVID vaccine.
“Just as our computer software has to be updated periodically to protect against the threats from ever-changing computer viruses, our body’s immune system needs to be updated periodically to protect against the threats of changing human viruses,” Dr. Thomas Farley said.
The District says you can get a flu shot at the same time as the booster. Flu shots are recommended anyone six months or older.
"It's absolutely safe to get them at the same time," Farley said.
The new shots are already available in Maryland, Gov. Larry Hogan announced. Virginia officials announced plans to offer the boosters this week. Here’s info on getting vaccinated in Maryland and Virginia.
Virginia health officials have ordered close to 200,000 doses of the boosters. In Maryland, an initial round of 158,000 is available. Montgomery County officials already warned about short supplies. County Executive Marc Elrich recommended making an appointment to get a shot.
Who Should Get an Updated Bivalent COVID-19 Booster?
The Food and Drug Administration and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have signed off on Pfizer's shot for anyone over the age of 12 and Moderna's shot for anyone over age 18.
Health officials are encouraging widespread use of the booster.
White House COVID-19 coordinator Dr. Ashish Jha said everyone aged 12 and up should get the shot — unless they were recently vaccinated or infected with COVID-19.
According to District officials, it’s time to get the new booster two months after your last COVID-19 vaccination or booster.
“Get your updated COVID-19 shot as soon as you are eligible in order to protect yourself, your family, and your community against COVID-19 this fall and winter. I certainly will do so,” Fauci said.