TRENTON – More than 800 vaccine providers around New Jersey are expected to receive the new omicron-specific doses of the COVID-19 boosters in the coming days, state officials said Friday.

People ages 12 and older are now recommended to obtain a COVID-19 bivalent booster dose, two months after their most recent booster or primary series. The update offers better protections against severe illness and death, though maybe not infection itself, from omicron subvariants.

New Jersey has received allocations of both Pfizer and Moderna bivalent boosters, which have been recommended by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Those are being delivered to vaccine providers now.

The bivalent vaccines target both the original COVID-19 strain and the BA.4 and BA.5 omicron subvariants that are causing most current cases and are predicted to circulate this fall and winter.

“COVID-19 vaccines have proven to be safe and effective and continue to protect against serious illness and save lives,” said Health Commissioner Judith Persichilli. “With children back in school and the upcoming fall and winter holidays, the new bivalent vaccine will give New Jerseyans additional protections against these highly transmissible subvariants.”

Individuals can find locations offering the boosters on the COVID-19 Vaccine Finder and Community Calendar at covid19.nj.gov.

The new Pfizer booster is recommended for people ages 12 and older, while the Moderna booster is recommended starting at age 18.

Updated boosters for younger people could be recommended in the coming weeks.

The Novavax vaccine for adolescents ages 12 to 17 that became available last week is not authorized for use as a booster dose at this time, according to the CDC.

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The state said nearly 81% of New Jersey residents have completed their primary COVID-19 vaccine series, and more than 54% have gotten a first booster.

Michael Symons is the Statehouse bureau chief for New Jersey 101.5. You can reach him at michael.symons@townsquaremedia.com

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