The panic over COVID has died down but the disease is still infecting thousands of New Jerseyans and killing some every day. That's why the state Health Department is encouraging everyone who is eligible to get the new COVID bivalent booster shot.

Health Commissioner Judy Persichilli said this new booster was designed “to effectively target highly transmissible omicron variants, and then the two sub-variants, BA4 and BA5.”

In New Jersey, 85% of cases are BA5.

The new booster became available about two weeks ago and has been administered to 126,000 people.

Where can you get new COVID booster?

Persichilli noted there are nearly 1,300 sites across the Garden State “that have the bivalent boosters and are administering the boosters, that includes our federal pharmacy partner program, many of our FQHCs.”

An FQHC is a federally qualified health center.

She said to find a site near you to get the new booser you can go to, click on vaccine info, then click on the vaccine appointment finder.

“We are certainly encouraging everyone that is eligible, which is a little over 6 million people, to get the bivalent vaccine," she said.

Manit Chaidee GettyImages
Manit Chaidee GettyImages

Which groups are eligible for the new booster?

Persichilli said “anyone who has finished their primary series (of 2 shots) and is at least two months out after the primary series, they are eligible.”

She said the new booster made by Moderna is for individuals 18 and older, while Pfizer is 12 years of age and older, although you can "mix and match."

She stressed while you may be tired of hearing about COVID, it’s still around and still a threat.

“We still see too many cases every day and unfortunately too many deaths,” said Persichilli.

She added by continuing to improve vaccines and medications, staying home when we’re sick and washing hands regularly, “we can get rid of this virus or at least bring it to an endemic stage, perhaps getting boosters every year or perhaps we wouldn’t need them.”

David Matthau is a reporter for New Jersey 101.5. You can reach him at

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