New vaccine rolls out: Where can you find yours?

A new tool in the fight against COVID-19 became available this month. The new bivalent booster works to protect against both the original disease variant as well as new Omicron BA.4 and BA.5 variants. 

The bivalent booster is available for those 12 and older.

To date, nearly 6.8 million Michiganders ages 5 and older have gotten at least their first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. 

"Experts have compared COVID-19 vaccination to wearing a seatbelt. A seatbelt might not prevent you from getting into an accident, but it will protect you if you do, much like a COVID-19 vaccine can protect you from serious complications if you get infected with COVID-19," says Dr. Gwendolyn Unzicker, Ottawa County Department of Public Health medical director. "Getting the new COVID-19 bivalent vaccine booster can be like an airbag and add yet another layer of protection for you. It still may not prevent you from getting COVID-19, but it can protect you from severe illness or worse."

Find out more about where to find a vaccine.


Allegan County
 
Allegan County Health Department has Pfizer and Moderna bivalent COVID-19 boosters available, by appointment only. Interested eligible individuals should contact (269) 673-5411 option 1 to make their appointment.

Find out the answers to testing, vaccines, masking, and other COVID-19-related questions in Allegan County from the county’s health department website.

Ottawa County

The Ottawa County Department of Public Health will host vaccine clinics on Thursdays throughout the month of September at the Holland clinic, 12251 James St. 

Sept. 22, 9 a.m. - Noon. To register, click here.

Sept. 29, 10 a.m. - 4 p.m. To register, click here.

Masks are still required in OCDPH healthcare facilities, in accordance with the CDC’s infection control guidance for healthcare facilities. 

The Food and Drug Administration and the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention approved the updated bivalent version of the Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 vaccine boosters, which are formulated to protect against the original coronavirus strain and provide more targeted protection against the newer Omicron variants. An updated bivalent booster is now recommended for everyone 12 and older, in addition to individuals at high-risk for severe illness or hospitalization, including those over the age of 50, anyone who is immunocompromised, or anyone who has an underlying health condition. 

The Moderna bivalent booster is authorized for individuals 18 years of age and older. The Pfizer bivalent booster is authorized for individuals 12 years of age and older. 

“This is great news as we go into the fall and winter when we expect cases of COVID-19 to increase,” says Dr. Natasha Bagdasarian, Michigan Department of Health and Human Services chief medical executive. “COVID-19 vaccines remain our best defense against the virus, and we recommend all Michiganders stay up to date.”

When? 

Patients may receive an updated bivalent booster starting two months after their last COVID-19 shot, regardless of whether that was a booster dose or if the patient has simply completed their initial COVID-19 vaccination series.

Whether it is the right time for a booster or initial vaccine varies from person to person, says Jamie Hekker, Muskegon County Public Health community engagement coordinator. Those with questions should consult their health care providers or visit vaccines.gov to learn more about recommendations.

Muskegon County 

Those in Muskegon County can turn to ​maskupmuskegon.org for vaccine information. Find out where to receive a vaccine by clicking on the “vaccine info” tab.

Muskegon Family Clinic offers vaccine clinics Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. Call (231) 737-1822 to schedule an appointment. Other vaccine partners in Muskegon County are also listed on the website.

Many pharmacies and clinics are carrying the vaccines. However, Hekker says, it is wise to call ahead.

“With the new vaccine that just rolled out, some have gone back to appointments,” Hekker says. “So folks will need to check with providers to see if they have the vaccine they're interested in and if they need an appointment."

MDHHS also encourages Michigan residents to pay attention to local guidance as some communities may be at a higher risk of COVID-19 transmission.