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Florida A&M is offering latest COVID-19 boosters to the community: a look at what you need to know

Posted at 11:38 PM, Sep 12, 2022
and last updated 2022-09-13 09:25:42-04

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) — FAMU has ordered 900 Pfizer and 800 Moderna boosters so far to distribute to the community to help reduce future infections.

"I've been getting phone calls and text messages for a couple weeks now."

Tanya Tatum is the Director of Student Health Services at Florida A&M University. She says she's seen an increase in people wanting access to the updated COVID-19 booster across the community.

They asked…so FAMU delivered.

"We have both the Pfizer and Moderna bivalent boosters for COVID-19 available," said Tatum.

So, what makes the latest Pfizer and Moderna boosters different? Short answer: the Omicron variant.

"Which has been a much stronger variant, causing more serious infections in patients, so that's why this has developed as soon as the Omicron variant came about because the virus it does mutate, it does change."

Amy Lynn Safaty is the Pharmacy Manager of CVS Health. She says the new boosters target two different strains of COVID-19 all in one vaccine. That means it can offer protection against both the original COVID-19 virus and the Omicron strain…which is why it's called a bivalent booster. Moderna is approved for ages 18 and up, while Pfizer is 12 years and older. The booster can help lower the risk for severe infection and reduce hospitalization.

"Moderna and Pfizer vaccines are allowed to be interchanged so if somebody started out with Pfizer, they can get a Moderna booster," added Safaty.

She told ABC 27 one vaccine is not better than the other. She recommends patients get whichever booster is available to them sooner rather than delay protection.

The CDC recommends everyone 12 and older get the updated booster, as long as they've already had their primary series of shots. You should wait at least two months since your last vaccine dose. Advice Tatum hopes more people will follow...

"We're hoping that this new booster will do that so that people don't actually get infected."

FAMU also plans to offer infant and toddler vaccinations by October.

The new Moderna and Pfizer boosters are being distributed at the FAMU vaccination and testing site.

The site is located at 2507 Wahnish Way in Tallahassee and it's open Monday through Saturday from 8 AM to 4:30 PM.