Following the approval of Moderna's 'Spikevax Bivalent Original/Omicron BA.1' COVID-19 vaccine to be used as a booster shot for adults aged 18 years and older by the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI), this new vaccine is now being rolled out across Australia from October 10, 2022, onwards.

As this is the first vaccine of its kind to be rolled out in Australia, there's bound to be a heap of questions about it. Don't worry, we're going to explain what this new Moderna vaccine is, who should get it, if it is safe (it is), and how the rollout is going to work.

Just remember that if you need support or someone to talk to, our Sonder support team is available 24/7 to chat whenever you need it.

What is this new COVID-19 vaccine from Moderna?

This new COVID-19 vaccine from Moderna is called 'Spikevax Bivalent Original/Omicron BA.1' and it uses the same mRNA technology as the Pfizer and original Moderna vaccine.

But as the 'bivalent' part in the name suggests, this new vaccine not only contains the spike protein blueprints targeting the original COVID-19 variant, but also the spike protein blueprints for the Omicron BA.1 subvariant. It is the first of its kind to be rolled out in Australia and will be monitored closely.

So what does this mean?

It basically means that this new booster is aimed at stopping infection from the original COVID-19 variant AND the Omicron BA.1 variant. The ATAGI noted that this new bivalent vaccine showed an incremental benefit over the original vaccine targeting the Omicron variants.

Who should get it?

The ATAGI has recommended that the Moderna Spikevax bivalent vaccine be used as any booster dose in people aged 18 years or older and that it be administered at least three months after the most recent COVID-19 vaccine dose or infection.

However, you are not required to get the bivalent vaccine if you're up-to-date with your boosters (the recommended number of vaccine doses is four for most people, five for those who are immunocompromised).

At the time of writing, the bivalent vaccine hasn't been approved for those under 18 years of age, nor has it been approved as a "primary dose" vaccine (one of the first two doses most people receive).

Is this new vaccine safe?

In a word: yes!

Moderna's Spikevax bivalent vaccine has a similar safety profile as the original vaccine, which has been demonstrated to be safe for pregnant women and those who are immunocompromised. Trials and tests for the bivalent vaccine are ongoing as the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) requires Moderna to provide information about longer-term results regarding its safety and effectiveness, but all things are positive about the vaccine so far.

When is it rolling out?

The Moderna Spikevax bivalent vaccine will be integrated into the existing COVID-19 booster program from October 10, 2022, onwards. If you need to book in an appointment for a booster jab, sites that will have this vaccine available can be found on the COVID-19 Vaccine Clinic Finder.

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Information sourced from: ABC, ATAGI, and SBS

Image credit: Casino Connection from Flickr

All content is created and published for informational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice. Always seek the guidance of a qualified health professional.

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