Original Moderna, Pfizer COVID-19 vaccines no longer authorized in U.S.; New guidelines released

The Ohio Department of Health repealed authorization for the monovalent COVID-19 vaccines from Moderna and Pfizer—the same type of vaccines many Americans received during the start of the pandemic.

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On Tuesday, April 18, Ohio’s health department notified Miami Valley districts that the monovalent COVID-19 vaccines from Moderna and Pfizer should no longer be administered in the United States after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration amended its emergency use authorization, a spokesperson from the Montgomery County Health Department said.

The monovalent COVID-19 vaccines were the most commonly administered vaccines at the start of the pandemic, ones that many Americans received.

These vaccines were manufactured using the original strain of the coronavirus and used only one type of strain. However, following the development of viral mutations, Pfizer and Moderna updated their boosters to become bivalent, according to a release by the Washington State Department of Health.

Bivalent vaccines use two strains of the virus rather than one. In the case of the updated Pfizer and Moderna boosters, they were created from the original coronavirus strain and the newer omicron variants, BA.4 and BA.5.

The updated bivalent boosters have shown to provide broader protection against COVID-19 illness, including increased period of protection from severe illness, hospitalizations, and/or death, a study from the New England Journal of Medicine wrote.

Monovalent Novavax and Johnson & Johnson/Janssen COVID-19 vaccines can still be administered under the newly updated guidelines.

The Ohio Department of Health also provided the following guidelines for vaccinations with the bivalent Moderna and Pfizer COVID-19 vaccines:

  • Persons who are ages 65 and over and who have previously been vaccinated with a bivalent vaccine may receive a second bivalent dose 4 months after their first bivalent vaccine.

  • Persons who started but did not finish their primary series may receive a bivalent vaccine 2 months after their last monovalent vaccine.

  • For those persons who want to start the COVID-19 vaccine for the first time, only one dose of the bivalent vaccine is needed.

The bivalent Pfizer vaccines may only be administered to people six months and older.

For more information, you can visit the CDC site.