CENTRAL ILLINOIS, Ill. (WCIA) — New COVID-19 vaccines are now available in Champaign and Macon Counties.

After being approved by the Food and Drug Administration and recommended by the CDC, new Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are being rolled out across the country. The difference between these vaccines and the ones that were administered a year ago is that the new vaccines are designed to protect against the Omicron variant.

The new vaccines are not, however, meant for the initial two-shot regimen. People must receive the original vaccines before receiving the updated vaccine as a booster shot.

These new vaccines are also described as being “bivalent.” Brandon Meline, Vaccination Efforts Logistic Chief of the Champaign-Urbana Public Health District, explained what that means:

“It’s the same technology as the previous Pfizer and Moderna shots, it’s just the updated Omicron variants,” Meline said. “The bivalent means that it’s two different strains or two different types of mRNA segments in the vaccine to protect against more than one of the Omicron varieties.”

The Macon County Health Department started administering bivalent vaccines on Thursday while the Champaign-Urbana Public Health District started administering them on Monday. Anyone aged 12 and older can receive a bivalent vaccine as a booster shot as long as they are two months removed from their most recent dose.

People can schedule an appointment with the MCHD by calling 217-423-6988. Appointments can be made with the CUPHD online.

The CUPHD is prioritizing those who are 50 years of age or older for the first two days of bivalent vaccination clinics. Appointments can be scheduled from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Thursday.