PORTSMOUTH, Va. (WAVY) — Have you gotten a text reminder about your COVID-19 Bivalent booster? There’s a good chance it was from the Virginia Department of Health.

According to the CDC, only 12% of the eligible population has received the new Bivalent booster, compared to about 80% of people who got the original immunization series.

On Monday, VDH began sending residents aged 50+ in the Chesapeake, Norfolk, Portsmouth, Three Rivers, and Virginia Beach health districts text or voice messages reminding them that they are eligible for the COVID-19 Bivalent booster.

Members will only receive a message if records indicate they are eligible for, but have not yet received a bivalent booster.

Free bivalent boosters are now available at many locations, including health care providers, local pharmacies, and health departments around the state.

You can schedule an appointment at https://vaccines.gov/ or call (877) 829-4682.

Health officials say residents do not need to wait for this notification to get a bivalent booster.

Kathy Koehl, system director with Riverside Clinical Pharmacy Services, told WAVY she believes many people either don’t know about the Bivalent booster that rolled out last month, or don’t know they’re eligible to get it.

“It can be very confusing its a lot to keep up with, even for those of us in health care who are dealing with the vaccines on a daily basis,” Koehl said.

Doctors are encouraging people to get vaccinated to try to control the spread of the virus over the holidays.

The Bivalent vaccine is designed to protect against the omicron subvariants circulating now, as well as the original COVID strain. The original vaccine and booster did not protect against omicron.

“If you’re confused about where you are on this continuum of vaccines, definitely reach out to your trusted health care professional who knows you and can put together these pieces,” Koehl said.

Check WAVY.com for the latest updates.