Genesee County, MI—The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has authorized COVID-19 booster shots that are adapted for Omicron, the circulating variant of the virus in Michigan and the U.S. at large. 

In late August 2022, the FDA greenlighted the Moderna and Pfizer bivalent COVID vaccines, which target the original strain of the SARS-CoV-2 virus and the BA.4 and BA.5 subvariants of Omicron.  

The Genesee County Health Department (GCHD) is administering the updated boosters beginning this week. Individuals can also check for availability at pharmacies like CVS, Walgreens and Rite Aid.

The updated Moderna booster is approved for people the age of 18 and above, whereas the updated Pfizer booster is authorized for those who are 12 years old and up. Individuals are eligible for an updated booster at least two months after receiving their primary vaccination series or the most recent booster shot. 

Health officials recommend staying up to date with vaccination to protect against COVID, among other precautions, and roughly half of the fully vaccinated population in Genesee County has received the first booster shot.

As of Sept. 8, 2022, Genesee County has a medium COVID community level, which is based on the rate of cases as well as hospital admissions and capacity. That goes for neighboring counties like Saginaw, Shiawassee, Livingston, Oakland and Lapeer too, while Tuscola has seen a high COVID community level. And the BA.5 subvariant of Omicron is still dominant in Michigan and the U.S.

The monovalent Moderna and Pfizer vaccines, which target the original strain of the virus, are no longer authorized as a booster for people aged 18 and older, or 12 years old and above, respectively. But the monovalent vaccines remain cleared for use as primary series vaccination for those aged 6 months and older. Meanwhile, children aged 5 through 11 are eligible for the Pfizer monovalent vaccine as a booster at least five months after they receive the primary series of the Pfizer vaccine. 

Check the pharmacies’ websites for vaccine availability and appointment times: 

Walgreens: https://www.walgreens.com/findcare/schedule-vaccine

Rite Aid: https://www.riteaid.com/pharmacy/scheduler 

CVS: https://www.cvs.com/vaccine/intake/store/schedule-options

Here is the September calendar of COVID vaccine clinics provided by GCHD and community partners.

Nicholas Chan

Nicholas is Flint Beat’s public health and education reporter. He joins the team as he graduates from Santa Clara University, Calif. Nicholas has previously reported on dementia and brain health, as...

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