Safety and side effect data of new omicron COVID booster released

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Moderna’s new bivalent booster shot has similar side effects and is just as safe compared to the company’s original booster, a new study finds.

In an ongoing Phase 2 of a three-phase clinical trial, scientists divided close to 1,000 participants into two groups. All had received the original Moderna two-dose series plus their first booster shot at least three months earlier. 

One group of participants was then given a shot of the new booster formula while the other group received a second dose of the original booster vaccine. Scientists monitored the patients for reactions and found the type and severity of the new booster were comparable to what patients experienced with the original. 

“As far as severe adverse events, there’s really nothing that has arisen in these new vaccine formulations,” Dr. Christopher Doehring, vice president of medical affairs at Franciscan Health, told News 8. “The reaction, I’d say, it’s pretty comparable, and with the booster for the folks who’ve already had recent COVID infections? Sometimes that does trigger a more meaningful widespread reaction, but those are all generally mild.” 

According to the report, which was just published in the New England Journal of Medicine, the most common side effects of the new booster include headache, fatigue, muscle aches, joint stiffness and pain at injection site.

Daniel Carrillo, a pharmacist at AltaMed in Southgate, California, on Oct. 6, 2022, holds a bottle containing booster doses of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine, Bivalent is the updated booster from Moderna designed to help protect against multiple COVID-19 variants in a single shot. (Mel Melcon/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)