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December 1, 2022


Rhode Island COVID-19 Partner Update

COVID-19 Vaccine Update
Updated, bivalent boosters offer additional protection against COVID-19

For the best protection against COVID-19 this holiday season, get a bivalent booster.
Data show that people who got updated, bivalent boosters have better protection against COVID-19 than people who got the older, monovalent boosters. For more information, see this recent study from the CDC.
Bivalent boosters are recommended for everyone age 5 or older. Get your bivalent booster at least two months after your last dose of COVID-19 vaccines. To find boosters near you, visit
Do I need an updated booster if I already got a booster?
Yes! CDC recommends these updated boosters for everyone age 5 or older.
What is different about these boosters?
“Bivalent” means these doses protect people against two strains of the virus that causes COVID-19: the original strain and the Omicron strain.  
The boosters we used until September 2022 are called “monovalent” boosters, and only protect against the original strain of the virus that causes COVID-19. 
How many booster doses will I need?
For most people, CDC recommends getting at least one booster dose after getting your primary series. This is normal; there are lots of vaccines that require booster doses.
We are going to keep learning about this virus and its variants and how well our vaccines work against the virus, so this recommendation may change.
We know that the protection offered by the vaccine weakens over time. Booster doses give additional protection and work well to protect people against serious illness, hospitalization, and death from COVID-19.
CDC recommends that people age 5 or older get one dose of an updated bivalent booster at least two months after their last dose of vaccine (either a primary series or a booster dose). This recommendation applies no matter how many booster doses a person has already received. For example, if you are receiving cancer treatment and got three doses of Pfizer for your primary series and then two booster doses, you should still get an updated booster at least two months after your last dose. 

Stay healthy this winter!

The winter holidays are here! We are moving indoors and spending more time visiting with friends and family. A few basic prevention measures can go a long way in helping you and your family stay healthy this season.

  • Stay home if you are sick. Do not host others if you are sick.
  • Wash your hands with soap and water regularly. 
  • Cough or sneeze into your elbow. 
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces.
  • Consider getting tested for COVID-19 if you plan to visit someone who is at higher risk for severe COVID-19 illness. Information about testing is available at
  • Get your flu shot. Everyone older than six months of age should be vaccinated every year. For information on where to get a flu shot, see
  • Be up to date on your COVID-19 vaccinations. For many people, that means getting a booster. Learn more about COVID-19 vaccines at Find a free vaccine or booster near you at

 If you are exposed to COVID-19 or you test positive for COVID-19, visit

New Infection Control Resources Available in Spanish! 
CDC’s Project Firstline has released a new suite of infection control educational materials and resources for Spanish-speaking frontline healthcare workers. These new resources were developed to ensure the delivery of culturally appropriate infection control information for Spanish-speakers  in their native language. From videos to posters to training toolkits, there are a variety of resources available to help healthcare workers better understand and confidently apply infection control throughout their workday. For more infection control information and resources from RIDOH and Project Firstline Rhode Island, please visit
Project Firstline Rhode Island has also produced a Spanish version of its booklet, “Where Germs Live.” The booklet may be downloaded or ordered on RIDOH’s website.

Substance Use and Overdose Prevention Update 
Registration Is Now Open for the Fifth Annual Substance-Exposed Newborns Conference

RIDOH and the New England Addiction Technology Transfer Center at the Brown University School of Public Health will host the Fifth Annual Substance-Exposed Newborns Conference on December 13 from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Warwick, Rhode Island. This year’s conference will bring together clinical, research, and community content experts to raise awareness of evidence based, emerging best practices and policy information as well as statewide resources to support pregnant and postpartum people and their babies and families affected by prenatal substance exposure. This is a hybrid event and all sessions live stream simultaneously. Registrants can choose to attend in person or via Zoom webinar; all speakers will be live and in person. Learn more details, view the agenda, and register.

Community Support, Bereavement and Counseling Resources are Available  
People of all ages are affected by substance use – either personally or through a loved one. Whether children, teens, or adults, there are several peer support, bereavement, and counseling resources that can help. Don’t hesitate to contact one of them today. Click here to learn more.

Personalized CME on Safe Opioid Prescribing 
RIDOH has relaunched a no-cost, enhanced education program on safe opioid prescribing for licensed prescribers. These one-on-one sessions can be completed from any location and scheduled at your convenience. For more information, read here 

Governor’s Task Force Newsletter for November 
November’s Task Force Newsletter includes meeting highlights, new goals and leadership announcements from the Governor, a downloadable resource on xylazine, upcoming HIV/HCV testing events for World AIDS Day, and other news. Read the newsletter and please share across your networks. 
The next meeting (in-person and on Zoom) is December 14. For more information, visit The Task Force – Prevent Overdose RI  

Ear Acupuncture Training for Qualified Professionals 
If you are a licensed social worker, nurse, physician, mental health counselor, certified peer recovery specialist, or certified alcohol/chemical dependency professional, check out the People’s Organization of Community Acupuncture’s (POCA) upcoming training to help clients manage a variety of behavioral health conditions. Ear Trainings – POCA ( 


Press releases from the Governor’s Office:
Recent executive orders:
COVID-19 prevention guidance:
COVID-19 testing information:
COVID-19 vaccination information:
COVID-19 information for the public:
COVID-19 publications and resources:
COVID-19 information for workplaces:
COVID-19 resources in multiple languages:
CDC COVID-19 information:
Project Firstline Rhode Island: 

Social media platforms:

To view all past publications and to subscribe to our distribution list to receive future communications visit the COVID-19 Periodic Briefings, Advisories, and Updates webpage at

Please contact RIDOH Infectious Disease Communications Coordinator Aaron Frechette ( for assistance with educational materials and communication resources. Please contact the RIDOH COVID-19 Information Line at 401-222-8022, or email, with any other questions.
Copyright © 2022 The Rhode Island Department of Health, All rights reserved.

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