Bivalent COVID-19 booster provides significant protection, especially for older adults
Though the public is eager to move past the pandemic, COVID-19 is still with us and capable of causing severe illness and death, especially in older adults.
Almost 9 out of 10 of the approximately 400 Americans dying every day from COVID-19 are over the age of 65. Moreover, while more than 90% of people 65 and older got the initial vaccine series and booster, less that 40% have received the updated bivalent booster.
However, early findings from a study measuring the effectiveness of the bivalent booster show the shot provides this group of adults with significant protection against bad outcomes.
Specifically, the new research, which involved University of Iowa researchers, found that people over age 65 who received the updated bivalent booster were:
84% less likely to be hospitalized with COVID-19 compared with unvaccinated people
73% less likely to be hospitalized with COVID-19 compared with people who received monovalent mRNA vaccination alone but had not received the bivalent booster dose.
“The reasons why booster uptake is low in older adults are complex, but these new results suggest that the bivalent shot is a valuable tool for protecting vulnerable people at a time when COVID-19 case numbers are climbing again,” says Nicholas Mohr, MD, UI professor of emergency medicine, anesthesia, and epidemiology. “Based on these early findings, I would recommend that older adults get the bivalent booster to maximize their protection against COVID-19 over the winter months.”
Mohr and colleagues were part of the multistate IVY Network study team that conducted the research, which was published Dec. 30, 2022, in the CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.