Conn. (WTNH) — Now that the FDA authorized Pfizer and Moderna’s ‘Bivalent’ booster vaccines, you may be wondering: What is it and why do I need another booster?

This updated booster includes a component of the original virus strain and the Omicron variant. They’re designed to give people broad protection against COVID-19, including better protection against Omicron.

One of the characteristics of COVID-19, as well as other viruses, is the presence of “spike” proteins that allow these viruses to penetrate host cells and cause infection.

“So if we can allow our bodies to identify what does that outside protein look like, or that spike protein,” mRNA biochemist Dr. Rob Swanda, PhD, said. “It gives our immune system a snapshot of what to be on the lookout for, in case we come in contact with that virus out in public. We can allow our immune system to fight it off better and really prevent those severe infections and death.”

Individuals ages 18 and older are eligible for the single booster dose of the Moderna vaccine, while those ages 12 and older are eligible for the Pfizer bivalent. With both manufacturers, it must be at least two months since completing a primary vaccination or have received the most recent booster dose with any authorized or approved monovalent COVID-19 vaccine.

We reached out to CVS and Walgreens pharmacies; CVS locations are receiving the bivalent Covic-19 boosters on a rolling basis over the next few days and weeks. We have not heard back from Walgreens as of yet.