Does the new bivalent COVID booster have different side effects?

(NEXSTAR) – If you go to your local pharmacy or vaccination site, you will receive a new type of COVID-19 vaccine these days. It is a bivalent booster, meaning it contains parts of the original COVID-19 variant and the omicron variant that became dominant in 2022.

The new formulation is designed to give you better protection against the type of coronavirus currently circulating, but does a new type of vaccine mean it will feel different?

“All of the side effects of the bivalent booster (in clinical trials) were very similar to what we’ve seen with the regular booster and even going back to the initial vaccination,” said Andrew Pekosz, virologist at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Medicine. Public Health. , during a recent press conference. “Most often it’s redness at the inoculation site, some pain, feeling tired for a day or two afterwards – all the same side effects that we see at roughly the same rates with bivalent recall.

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Other common side effects of the COVID-19 vaccine in adults — whether it’s the updated formula or not — include headache, fever, chills and nausea, according to the Centers for Disease. Control and Prevention.

In children, the most common side effects are a little different. For very young children, between 6 months and 3 years old, you will often see pain at the injection site, but also swollen lymph nodes, irritability, drowsiness or loss of appetite.

In children 4 to 17 years old, the side effects are more like what adults see. Side effects in this age group are more likely to occur after the second dose, according to the CDC.

The CDC says side effects are usually mild and go away within a day or two.

The Food and Drug Administration has authorized the use of two bivalent COVID-19 boosters. The Moderna shot is available for adults, while the Pfizer shot is available for ages 12 and older.

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How much better these boosters will protect us from the virus than the latest version is hard to say, as testing of this exact recipe has only just begun in humans.

The FDA cleared the new recalls based largely on human studies of a similarly modified vaccine that has just been recommended by regulators in Europe. These modified shots target an earlier omicron strain, BA.1, which circulated last winter, and studies have found they boost people’s anti-virus antibodies.

With this earlier version of omicron now replaced by BA.4 and BA.5, the FDA ordered a further adjustment to the injections – and tests in mice showed they elicit an equally good immune response.

There is no way of knowing if the antibodies produced by an omicron-compatible booster can last longer than a few months. But a booster is also believed to boost the immune system’s memory, adding to protection against serious illness caused by the ever-changing virus.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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