TRENTON — Gov. Murphy says the Garden State is ready to provide updated coronavirus vaccine boosters targeting the latest dominant strains that have been approved for kids 5 years old and up.

The Pfizer-BioNTech bivalent vaccine has been authorized for children ages 5 to 11 years old, while the Moderna vaccine has been cleared for children and adolescents ages 6 to 17 years old.

Gov. Murphy and Health Commissioner Judi Persichilli said in a joint statement Thursday that the Moderna bivalent booster is already available. The Pfizer vaccine has been pre-ordered and is expected to be available in New Jersey "soon."

"The COVID vaccines, including the updated boosters, are safe and effective. As cooler days are upon us and gatherings begin to move indoors – particularly with many holidays around the corner – we encourage all eligible individuals to get vaccinated and boosted to protect themselves, their families, and our communities at large."

New boosters receive authorization

The FDA and CDC signed off on the updated boosters on Wednesday.

These combination, or bivalent, boosters are made differently than other COVID-19 vaccines. They have half the recipe for the original coronavirus strain and the other half protects against the BA.4 and BA.5 omicron versions, which are the dominant strains in the US.

Dr. Bill Gruber, Senior Vice President of Pfizer Vaccine Clinical Research and Development, told the Associated Press that he hopes the boosters “re-energize interest in protecting children for the winter.”

“We want to have the best of both worlds,” Gruber said.

Virus Outbreak Kids Vaccines New York

Who is eligible for a COVID booster?

The new bivalent boosters will only be available to people who have previously received original-formula vaccines.

Children have not been lining up in droves to receive their first vaccinations. Less than a third of kids between 5 and 11 years old qualify for the new boosters, the Associated Press reported.

Rick Rickman is a reporter for New Jersey 101.5. You can reach him at

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