New COVID-19 booster vaccine now available in Vermont

Bivalent vaccine is a match for the virus variants now in the state

State health officials say that Vermonters will be able to receive the newly approved COVID-19 vaccine booster shots starting Wednesday, Sept. 7.

The updated boosters are designed to be a match for the BA.5 Omicron variant currently affecting most people.

Last week, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended use of the new vaccine booster doses. That action came after authorization for use by the Food and Drug Administration and a unanimous recommendation by the CDC's Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices.

In a news release, Health Commissioner Dr. Mark Levine said these boosters come at just the right time.

“As the weather cools, we start spending more time inside - and that is when we see increases in cases of respiratory viruses like colds and flu, and now COVID-19,” said Levine.

“This fast-evolving virus continues to demand our attention, and I am pleased we now have an updated vaccine that targets the variants we see circulating in Vermont,” he said.

The new boosters are known as bivalent, meaning they cover both the original SARS-CoV2 virus and the more recent Omicron (BA.5) variant. There are two types: the Pfizer booster, for people ages 12 and older, and Moderna's, authorized for those 18 years of age and older.

Eligible individuals may choose either the Pfizer or Moderna bivalent booster, regardless of which primary series vaccine or original booster dose they received.

To receive either of the new boosters, you must have completed your primary vaccination series (two doses of Pfizer or Moderna, or one dose of Johnson & Johnson).

Individuals who have recently received the Novavax vaccine - approved for use in the European Union and Canada - are not yet eligible for any booster.

The booster vaccine will be available starting Wednesday, Sept. 7 at limited walk-in-only clinics listed on the Health Department website. For more information, visit

In Windham County, clinics take place at Brattleboro Union High School, 131 Fairground Rd., on Wednesdays from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. and Saturdays from 1:30 p.m. to 4 p.m., starting Wednesday, Sept. 7 through the end of October.

In Londonderry, the vaccine will be available at Londonderry Rescue, 6069 Vt. Route 100, from 1:30 to 4 p.m. on alternating Tuesdays: Sept. 13 and 27, and Oct. 11 and 25.

Flu shots will also be available at many of the clinics, except for the high-dose vaccine for older individuals. People can go to a pharmacy or contact their provider for the high-dose flu vaccine.

As the new booster shot becomes more widely available over the next few weeks, Vermonters will be able to get it from their provider, a pharmacy, or wherever they would normally get vaccinated.

The Health Department pre-ordered approximately 17,000 doses of the bivalent boosters, some of which have already been received, and thousands more doses will be available for ordering starting later this week.

Vermont health care providers will soon begin to receive their vaccine orders, and doses are being sent directly to pharmacies and Federally Qualified Health Centers.

Levine said that while the vaccines don't necessarily prevent people from getting the virus, it will reduce the likelihood of serious illness.

“Getting this new booster will help build protection for when you do encounter the virus,” he said. “This can reduce cases of serious illness and hospitalizations - and, most important, help prevent additional deaths and loss from this terrible pandemic.”

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