HONOLULU (KHON2) – An update to COVID-19 vaccines for residents in Hawaii. The Hawai‘i Department of Health is now recommending the use of bivalent booster vaccines designed to protect against original COVID-19, BA.4 and BA.5 Omicron subvariants in Hawaii.

DOH report BA.5 subvariant accounts for about 91% of the COVID-19 cases confirmed in Hawai‘i. They report BA.4 subvariant accounts for an additional 4% of all cases in Hawai‘i.

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“The COVID-19 boosters we have been using do a good job of protecting us against severe illness. The new bivalent boosters are an upgrade because they take into account mutations of the COVID-19 virus to specifically address Omicron subvariants,” said State Health Director Dr. Elizabeth Char, FACEP.

On Aug. 31 the U.S. Food and Drug Administration issued an Emergency Use Authorization for the bivalent COVID-19 boosters. 

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and DOH recommend the bivalent booster manufactured by Pfizer-BioNTech for people aged 12 and older the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and DOH recommend the bivalent booster manufactured by Pfizer-BioNTech. Adults aged 18 and older can receive the bivalent booster by Moderna.

DOH said the new bivalent vaccines will be administered as a singular booster dose to those who have completed a primary series of COVID-19 vaccines. Those who have had one or two booster doses can also receive the new singular booster dose. 

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For more information about the Hawaii Department of Health’s recommendation on the first bivalent booster vaccines head to their website