CVS says some locations have run out of the updated, bivalent booster shots made by Moderna, but it continues to offer the Pfizer version of the updated vaccine.
“Some CVS Pharmacy locations have administered all of the Moderna bivalent COVID-19 vaccine received from the federal government to date. We’re working with the government to acquire more Moderna doses and continue to offer Pfizer,” said spokesperson Tara Burke in an e-mail.
She said people could sign up for Pfizer shots and “limited Moderna appointments” at CVS.com and via the CVS Pharmacy app.
“Appointments are updated as supply is received,” she said.
The Moderna shortages are “store-specific and not limited to Massachusetts,” she said. She did not say how many stores were affected.
She noted that people don’t have to match the brands of their updated booster to previous shots.
“Per CDC guidance, patients do not have to match the bivalent COVID-19 booster vaccine they receive to the brand they received during their primary series or previous boosters,” she said.
The Massachusetts Department of Public Health said in a statement that the federal government “has advised states that there is a temporarily limited supply of Moderna bivalent boosters, as the manufacturer ramps up its production.”
But the statement also said, “There are ample supplies of the bivalent Pfizer COVID-19 booster” and vaccine appointments are “widely available” on the state’s vaccination website.
A DPH report on vaccinations in Massachusetts issued Wednesday showed that vaccinations have surged since the updated boosters were authorized.
In the week ending Monday, 91,423 shots were administered. In the week before (which included the Labor Day weekend), 12,718 shots were administered. The report did not give specific numbers of those who had gotten the bivalent boosters.
On Sept. 1, the federal government approved the updated boosters. The updated Moderna shot is recommended for people age 18 and older, while the updated Pfizer shot is recommended for those age 12 and older.
Dr. Rochelle Walensky, director of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said at the time in a statement, “The updated COVID-19 boosters are formulated to better protect against the most recently circulating COVID-19 variant. They can help restore protection that has waned since previous vaccination and were designed to provide broader protection against newer variants.”
The approval “followed a comprehensive scientific evaluation and robust scientific discussion. If you are eligible, there is no bad time to get your COVID-19 booster and I strongly encourage you to receive it,” she said.
Dr. Ashish Jha, the White House COVID-19 response coordinator, said at a Sept. 6 media briefing, “If you’re 12 and above and previously vaccinated, it’s time to go get an updated COVID-19 shot.” He added that there were caveats, saying, “If you got a recent infection or were recently vaccinated, it’s reasonable to wait a few months.”
Jha said officials had “worked extremely hard to make sure we have ample supply of these new updated vaccines available for the American people.”
Martin Finucane can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.