Upcoming Covid Boosters: What You Need to Know

Covid Boosters

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has recommended updated single-strain COVID-19 vaccines from Pfizer and Moderna for all Americans aged six and above. This decision follows approvals from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the new vaccines targeting the omicron subvariant XBB.1.5.

These new vaccines are designed to offer better protection against the evolving strains of COVID-19. They come at a time when the U.S. is experiencing a rise in hospitalizations due to the virus, sparking concerns about the potential for increased transmission in the fall and winter months.

The CDC’s recommendations include:

All Americans aged six and older should receive at least one dose of the updated mRNA vaccine this year, even if they previously received the original COVID-19 vaccines.

Individuals aged 65 and older can receive an additional dose of the new vaccine four months after their first updated shot.

Children aged 6 months to 5 years should complete their primary vaccine series with two doses of the updated Moderna vaccine or three doses of the new Pfizer vaccine.

The new vaccines will be available at various locations, including pharmacies, health clinics, and community centers. These locations will cease offering last year’s bivalent boosters.

The federal government aims to make the vaccines available at no cost to most Americans. Private insurers will provide the vaccines without cost-sharing, while government payers such as Medicare and Medicaid will also cover the new shots. Uninsured individuals will have access to free vaccines through the Bridge Access Program, available at participating providers, including CVS and Walgreens.

The timing of receiving the updated vaccine varies based on individual risk factors. High-risk individuals should get vaccinated as soon as possible, while healthy adults can plan their vaccinations to coincide with potential exposure, like holiday gatherings.

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