As COVID Year Four Looms, Now What? The Business Behind Boosters, New Vaccines   

With the flu season well underway in Michigan, new COVID variants cropping up and ever-changing COVID-related work policies, as an employee there’s a lot to digest between bivalent boosters and the new Novavax COVID-19 vaccines available. Even for those looking for work, the landscape of what vaccines to take – and even what being fully vaccinated means – is enough to keep people on their toes looking to make sense of it all.   

For locals looking to get a leg up on their health, they can still get vaccinated and boosted. 

The Detroit Health Department is providing a Novavax COVID-19 vaccine and bivalent boosters.   

The newest COVID-19 vaccines/boosters are available at all Health Department immunization locations along with other vaccines for all age groups.   

The Novavax vaccine will be administered in two doses three weeks apart. The Novavax vaccine uses a spike protein combined with a supplement derived from the bark of a South American tree to produce an immune response.  

The technology differs from the messenger mRNA technology employed by both Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines.  

  • Two-dose series of Novavax are approved for ages 12+ .  
  • New bivalent boosters (Moderna ages 18+ and Pfizer ages 12+) offer protection against the newest contagious Omicron variants .  
  • All boosters and vaccines are available at all Health Department Immunization clinics.   

The Moderna and Pfizer bivalent vaccine boosters are designed to protect against the original strain of COVID-19 and the newer, more contagious Omicron variants (BA.4 and BA.5). The bivalent doses are only available as boosters for people who completed their primary vaccination series at least two months ago. Age eligibility requirements are different for each booster:   

  • Moderna Bivalent ages 18+   
  • Pfizer Bivalent ages 12+  

Vaccinations and boosters are available at all three Detroit Health Department immunization clinic locations: Detroit Health Department, 100 Mack Ave.; Northwest Activities Center, 18100 Meyers; and Samaritan Center 5555 Conner. 

Walk-ins are accepted but appointments are highly recommended. Appointments may be self-scheduled on the website: or text “vaccine” to 313-329-7272. 

“Detroiters are spending more time indoors with schools back in session and cooler weather on the way. We strongly encourage anyone who is eligible to get a booster dose with a bivalent vaccine. The FDA has been planning for the possibility that COVID-19 vaccines would need to be modified to provide greater protection, in much the same way as influenza vaccines are modified each year,” Dr. Claudia Richardson, medical director of the Detroit Health Department, said.  

For those working in person or virtually, many vaccine mandates abound from employers looking to keep employees safe the best way they know how. 

Bridge Michigan reported that businesses continue to require more employees to get the vaccine as part of employment standards.  

“We live in a world of the at-will real employee,” said Nicholas Bagley, a constitutional law attorney and professor at the University of Michigan, in the article. “When your employer asks you to do something, it can. It has the right to do so. And you have the right to walk away from that relationship.”  

Felisha Hatcher, an owner of a shared office workspace, Co:ology on 18940 E. 9 Mile Road in Eastpointe, has a different opinion.   

Co:ology had small intimate groups of about 30-40 guests typically pre-pandemic. Post COVID-19, with previous social distancing health regulations in place and capacity limits, its traffic has ebbed and flowed.   

“I feel that if you want to be vaccinated it is your choice. If you don’t, it’s your choice,” Hatcher said. “I don’t know if I agree [with the] mandated [options]. I had COVID myself and I still feel it’s your health. …I hope people take extra responsibilities and take health measures so others in the workspace are [not susceptible to] anything.”  

From facing pandemic-related closures and other challenges, her shared office workspace is thriving with micropreneurs (someone who creates and runs a very small business) who come and go, safely – whether or not they have the vaccine.  

Hatcher said that the standard workplace practices are “gone forever.”  

“Because with COVID, people having to work from home – it just changed the game for me,” she said, adding that more hybrid working standards are cropping up. “Even though people are eager to go back into the office and have collaborative work session and synergy … [they are] cognizant of spending more time with family and having more casual time.”  

She added that there are so many changes and uncertainties regarding vaccine policies with the overall goal of making sure people are safe, which her shared workspace encourages, too.  

“We will follow CDC rules and don’t require masks but they are encouraged,” she said, adding that while uncertainty about the next phase of work abounds, so does a thriving, dedicated workforce. “For us, I think COVID forever changed how we gather as people. … and I do have hope for the future. That as we continue to come back together, to gather in spaces … I’m hoping that we find the answers we’re seeking so we can eliminate this totally. But in the meantime, we do what we can in terms of health and safety. I don’t know what [the future is] going to bring but I’m hopeful for whatever it is we’re going to work it out.”  



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