COVID-19 Vaccine Information & Questions
Updated October 25, 2022
Bivalent Booster Vaccine General Information
The FDA approved omicron-specific booster doses of both Pfizer and Moderna vaccines. These new bivalent boosters often referred to as “updated boosters” are targeted against the Omicron variants that have been dominant through most of 2022. These new vaccine boosters are a response to the need to have vaccines more targeted toward circulating strains of COVID.
Moderna’s bivalent booster is for patients age 6 and up who have received a complete initial vaccine series (at least 2 doses of Moderna or 2 doses of Pfizer or 1 dose of J&J or 2 doses of Novavax or 2 doses of any WHO-approved vaccine series outside of the country.) Anyone age 6 or older seeking a Moderna booster will receive this updated bivalent booster.
Pfizer’s bivalent booster is for patients age 5 and up who have received a complete vaccine series (at least 2 doses of Pfizer or 2 doses of Moderna or 1 dose of J&J or 2 doses of Novavax or 2 doses of any WHO-approved vaccine series outside of the country.) Anyone age 6 or older seeking a Pfizer booster will receive the updated Pfizer bivalent booster.
Bivalent Boosters are now available at our Duly Health and Care vaccine clinics. Schedule your booster online today:
When can our patients receive the bivalent booster vaccines?
Patients are eligible to receive a bivalent booster dose of mRNA vaccine if they are fully vaccinated, meet the age criteria, and it has been at least 2 months since their last dose of any COVID vaccine, previous boosters included. If patients have already received all doses of the COVID vaccine for which they were eligible — they can and should still get a booster dose of these new bivalent vaccines.
What if a patient recently had COVID?
If a patient was recently infected, they likely have significant antibodies against circulating variants. For this reason, patients can wait up to 90 days after their COVID infection to receive bivalent boosters but do not have to. Patients can get these boosters at any time after recovery.
If I am a patient that has never been vaccinated, can I receive the new bivalent vaccine?
At this time, bivalent vaccines are NOT indicated for the primary vaccine series and cannot be used in this way. Patients have to receive a completed vaccine series of the original vaccines prior to these boosters. This is the current guidance from the CDC and FDA.
What about the bivalent vaccine for children under the age of 12?
It is recommended that children age 5 and older receive one updated bivalent booster if it has been at least 2 months since their last COVID-19 vaccine dose, whether that was their final primary series dose or a monovalent booster.
If a child under the age of 5 years old has not yet received a 3rd dose of the COVID vaccine, they should not wait. There is no immediate timeline for the expected approval of pediatric doses of bivalent boosters for this age group. Children should continue to be vaccinated with boosters currently available and, when bivalent boosters become available, they will be able to receive these as well.
Can patients get their COVID booster, flu shot, monkeypox vaccine, Prevnar 20, etc. all on the same day?
Yes, they can. There is no need to space these vaccines out, nor is there a requirement to get them in a certain order.
When should patients get their influenza vaccines?
Flu shots are now available for patients at Duly. The optimal time for an influenza vaccine is generally October and into November so the peak effect is felt when we anticipate influenza cases to peak.
Do Duly providers recommend mixing vaccines to improve immunity against COVID?
The most important thing you can do to protect yourself is to get the vaccine and boosters, including a second booster if recommended.
You can learn more about mixing and matching COVID here.
Who should get the COVID-19 vaccine?
- The COVID-19 vaccine is recommended for all individuals 6 months and up. Appointments are available in Glen Ellyn, Lisle and Tinley Park.
- A COVID-19 bivalent vaccine booster is recommended for everyone ages 5 and older at least 2 months after their initial primary series or monovalent booster. Those ages 5 – 11 that are moderately or severely immunocompromised should receive an additional dose of the Pfizer vaccine 28 days after their initial dose.
What are the side effects of the COVID-19 vaccine?
Mild side effects, such as those listed below, occur commonly and typically resolve within 24 – 48 hours of the vaccination administration. Common side effects of the COVID-19 vaccine include:
- Pain or swelling in the arm that received vaccine
These typical side effects can be treated with rest, hydration and Tylenol or ibuprofen. Patients should call their doctor if they feel that their side effects are becoming severe.
Allergic Reactions: Those with a known history of allergic reactions to injectable medications or vaccinations should consult with their primary care provider or an allergist before receiving the vaccine. The CDC recommends that patients who have an allergic reaction to the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine should not receive the second dose. If you have questions regarding your vaccine options, please contact your primary care provider or the Duly Health and Care Allergy, Asthma and Immunology department.
Onsite Safety Monitoring: All patients will be monitored for reactions to the vaccine for 15 minutes. Those with a history of severe allergic reactions will be monitored for up to 30 minutes. If you experience a reaction after leaving your appointment, seek medical attention immediately.
Follow-up Check-ins: Patients who receive the vaccine will be provided instructions on how to report side effects. A MyDMGHealth account will allow you to fill out check-in questionnaires to report any health concerns following your vaccination.
Is the vaccine safe for pregnant women, nursing mothers, those with a history of allergic reactions or those who are immunocompromised?
Women who are pregnant, trying to conceive or breastfeeding
Clinical trials did not study this demographic. Recent data has suggested that those who are pregnant could experience more severe reactions to side effects of either vaccine1. Reach out to your medical provider to help you make an informed decision.
Those with a history of severe allergic reactions
Those with a known history of severe or mild immediate allergic reactions, especially to injectable medications or vaccinations, should consult with their allergy and immunologist or primary care provider before receiving the vaccine.
Those with a history of severe allergies unrelated to vaccine ingredients and medical provider approval will be monitored for 30 minutes after receiving the vaccine instead of the standard 15 minutes.
Those who are immunocompromised
Due to limited data, it is recommended for those who are immunocompromised to consult with their doctor before receiving the vaccine.
Your medical provider will help inform you about the limited data surrounding vaccine research and those who are immunocompromised. Your provider may have special instructions for you following the vaccine to help ensure your safety.
Who is considered immunocompromised?
- Cancer patients
- Those who have had a bone marrow transplant
- Those who have had a solid organ transplant
- Received stem cells for cancer treatment
- Those with genetic immune deficiencies
- Those with HIV
- Those who chronically use oral or intravenous corticosteroids or immunosuppressants
If I have had COVID-19 or have tested positive for COVID-19 antibodies, should I get the vaccine?
- It is highly encouraged that those who have had COVID-19 receive the vaccination series to help avoid reinfection. The length of natural immunity ranges depending on the person. The vaccination series will help extend your immunity and lessen your risk of COVID-19 diagnosis and severity.
- For the safety of others, those who currently have COVID-19 should wait the recommended 14 days of isolation before considering a vaccine.
- Recent evidence has suggested a lower probability of reinfection within 90 days of COVID-19 infection. As a result, those with a recent COVID-19 diagnosis may choose to delay their vaccination series.
How long does the vaccine provide protection? What we know so far…
The COVID-19 vaccine’s length of immunity is still being determined due to limited data. It is recommended that those with COVID-19 antibodies from previous illness still receive the vaccination series since it is still unknown how long natural immunity lasts.
Does the vaccine protect me from alternate strains?
While data is limited, researchers believe that the COVID-19 vaccines will cover the alternate strains of the virus that have appeared around the world. Early findings suggest that COVID-19 mutations are showing consistent results as those already covered by the existing vaccine1. Additional research will help scientists adjust the vaccine as necessary in the future.
What is the cost of the COVID-19 vaccine?
The COVID-19 Vaccine is provided at no cost by the federal government. Duly Health and Care will bill your current insurance for the administration of the vaccine. Please check with your health plan by calling the number on the back of your insurance card for any questions prior to your appointment. If you are uninsured, the administration of your vaccine may be covered by the Health Resources and Services Administration’s Provider Relief Fund.
How are COVID-19 Omicron and its subvariants transmitted?
COVID-19 is spread in three main ways:
- Breathing in air when close to an infected person who is exhaling small droplets and particles that contain the virus.
- Having these small droplets and particles that contain virus land on the eyes, nose, or mouth, especially through splashes and sprays like a cough or sneeze.
- Touching eyes, nose, or mouth with hands that have the virus on them.
Omicron variants spread more easily than earlier variants of the virus that cause COVID-19.
Regardless of vaccination status, the Omicron variant can be spread to others whether or not they have symptoms and can cause reinfection even after recovery from COVID-19.
What are the symptoms of Omicron and its subvariants?
Symptoms may appear 2 – 14 days after exposure to the virus. Symptoms include:
- Fever or chills
- Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
- Muscle or body aches
- New loss of taste or smell
- Sore throat
- Congestion or runny nose
- Nausea or vomiting
Data suggests that symptoms from the Omicron variant are less severe, but more data is needed to fully assess the severity of illness and death associated with this variant.
I’ve been prescribed Paxlovid and am having a hard time finding a pharmacy to dispense it. Can you give me some guidance?
Much of what the government allocates has been distributed to commercial pharmacies like CVS, Walgreen’s and in some cases Walmart. Inquire about availability at your local store. Then let your Duly provider know which pharmacy and they will call it in for you.
I have questions about Paxlovid. Where can I find more information?
The FDA has published some helpful FAQs
And here’s a link to Pfizer’s Fact Sheet
Can I be tested to see what variant I have?
Duly does not offer that testing- it is done randomly at a state level for trending purposes. Duly does participate in this state testing.
CDC COVID Data Tracker: https://covid.cdc.gov/covid-data-tracker/
Are home tests accurate? Do I need a PCR test to confirm the result of my home test?
The home test can be considered reliable, and a PCR test is not needed to confirm a positive.
CDC COVID Self-Testing Information: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/testing/self-testing.html
At-home COVID advice lists OTC recommendations to prevent severe COVID for adults. Are there any recommendations for children (pediatric patients)?
Yes. Per our physicians, vitamins C & D and zinc are recommended. Parents can discuss proper dosing with their pharmacist for children.
What are the new quarantine guidelines?
The guidelines for quarantine are changing quickly. Please find the latest CDC guidance for quarantine here: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/your-health/quarantine-isolation.html