HENRICO COUNTY, Va. (WRIC) — Richmond and Henrico Health Districts will start offering bivalent COVID-19 boosters, beginning Wednesday, Sept. 14.

This change follows an FDA authorization and CDC recommendation from this week suggesting bivalent boosters over previous, monovalent boosters. “Bivalent” boosters combine many variants of COVID-19 to offer wider protection, including against the more recent Omicron BA.4 and BA.5 variants. The previous “monovalent” boosters were only made to protect against the original variant of COVID-19.

“Similar to how we update the flu vaccine each year to provide the most protection possible, these tweaks to our existing COVID-19 vaccines will give our communities a safe, effective tool to stay healthy this fall.” Dr. Melissa Viray, deputy director of Richmond and Henrico Health Districts, said.

Both Pfizer and Moderna offer bivalent boosters that have been approved by the FDA. Anyone 12 years old or older is eligible for the new Pfizer booster, and anyone 18 years old or older is eligible for the new Moderna booster.

As of Aug. 31, the FDA also no longer authorizes the previous monovalent boosters for those 12 and older. Anyone over the age of 12 seeking a booster must receive the new, bivalent formulation. Because of this, Richmond and Henrico Health Districts will not offer booster doses at the upcoming Sept. 7 and Sept. 8 vaccine clinics. Anyone seeking a booster on these dates will be asked to reschedule.

Pharmacies and primary care physicians may offer booster appointments in the coming days.