Safety of SARS-CoV-2 Bivalent Booster Shots

Jacinda Abdul-Mutakabbir, PharmD, comments on the importance of communicating the similarity of the bivalent booster vaccine safety profiles to patients.

Jacinda Abdul-Mutakabbir, PharmD: Because I vaccinate in the community and I only vaccinate with Pfizer, I run into the conversation of, “I’ve done X number of COVID-19 doses with the Moderna vaccine, so I don’t want to get Pfizer.” Then I have to be very intentional with my messaging. I talk about heterologous vaccines. “Vaccines are sexy.” I use that hashtag. I explain to them how they can mix the vaccines and so on. I get asked, “Are these new vaccines made any differently than the original vaccine?” That has been the consistent question that I’ve gotten in the field. Then I inform them, “No, not at all. We use the same lipids that were previously used to package that mRNA technology. It’s the same things we saw previously. The only addition is that strain, which is very easy to add to the original COVID-19 strain.”

I try to have intimate conversation. It’s always my goal to connect with the patients whom I serve and to make sure that I walk them through the process of selecting the vaccine. I also come at them from the point of, “I only have this, so let’s talk about whether this is the vaccine you’d like. If it’s not the vaccine that you want, then I’ll help you find where you can access the Moderna vaccine. However, I only have Pfizer here, and this is what we’re going to have to do.” Typically, folks will get Pfizer if they wanted Moderna. I’m able to have that decent conversation exchange.

With communicating, I have to take into account that I’m a trusted messenger in my community, so I can’t take advantage of that. When they ask me, they know that I’m going to give them statistics. I’m going to give them the numerical rundown. I’m going to tell them how these vaccines are performing because I want them to know that I have their back and they can trust that I’m going to be studied up and that I take my position in the community seriously.

Rodney Rohde, SV, SM, MB (ASCP), FACSc: Right on. That’s our duty to our patients at all times.

Transcript Edied for Clarity

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