With the approval of the US Food and Drug Administration and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, you can now get your hands on an updated Covid-19 shot right away. Major pharmacy chains have already started scheduling vaccine appointments.
Manufacturers have reported that the Moderna and Pfizer/BioNTech mRNA vaccines are capable of fighting off mutations in EG.5, the strain that is currently dominant in the United States, as well as other developing variants.
Health officials are urging individuals to get vaccinated as soon as possible. Meanwhile, covid-19 cases and hospitalizations are increasing, and the threat of other respiratory viruses, such as RSV and flu, is expected this fall. Vacuums have been introduced against all three.
This article provides information on when and where to obtain the vaccines required for healthy vaccinations this fall.
Who is recommended to be vaccinated?
The CDC recommends that individuals aged 6 months and above receive an up-to-date Covid-19 vaccine.
The CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, which advises the agency on vaccines and provides recommendations for all children aged 5 and above to receive at least one dose of an updated mRNA vaccine against Covid-19 this year, announced on Tuesday.
The initial vaccination of children aged 6 months to 4 years should result in two doses of Moderna vaccine and three doseses of Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine, with at least one dose being the updated version.
The committee also suggested that those with moderately or severe immunocompromised needs should receive at least three doses of Covid-19 vaccine, with at minimum an updated shot, and that they could also obtain another updated version later this year.
Whether individuals aged 65 and above will need another dose of the updated vaccine in a few months is not being determined by the committee. Most older adults were eligible for remission from the first doses of this bivalent Covid-19 vaccine during the spring.
Dr. William Schaffner, a former medical director of the nonprofit National Foundation for Infectious Diseases and professor in the Division of Infectionious diseases at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, stated that the committee is dedicated to ensuring equal access to vaccine for all members of our diverse nation.
The recommendation is for higher doses in individuals at risk of severe illness, including those aged 65 and above, those with weakened immune systems, and those living in nursing homes or during pregnancy.
Dr. Dan Barouch, director of the Center for Virology and Vaccine Research at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, who was not involved in the development of any of these new vaccines but had some experience with the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, believes that it is this group that will benefit most.
He stated that the primary objective of these vaccines is to lower the risk of severe disease, which is a significant goal. However, it is unlikely that these boosters will provide complete protection against infection and may only have sporadic effects on milder diseases.
The likelihood of lung infections becoming a triple threat is high due to the expected outbreak of flu and RSV during the fall and winter.
The CDC suggests that individuals aged 6 months and above, as well as those with preexisting health conditions, pregnant women, and older adults, receive annual flu shots during September and October.
The RSV vaccine is available in two single-dose forms for those aged 60 and above. Schaffner suggests that individuals of this age group should also receive the same type of vaccine, as the virus causes respiratory illness equivalent to that of the flu every year.
What is the appropriate time to receive vaccinations?
Schaffner explained that the timing of a new Covid-19 vaccine is contingent on when you received your previous one. Individuals who received their last Covis-19 dose several months or more ago should receive it in the late September through October window.
He advised individuals who have recently received the bivalent Covid-19 vaccine or were infected with the virus to wait a bit longer before taking action.
Schaffner advised waiting for a maximum booster booster of three months, noting that most vaccines take only 10 days to develop completely.
He stated that it takes time for the body to start circulating antibodies through the bloodstream. If someone is going on a trip or having an important event, Schaffner suggests waiting for at least one week before initiating circulation.
The CDC is advocating for doctors to start administering the new immunizations for RSV as soon as possible. Schaffner recommended that flu shots be administered during October, preferably by Halloween, using the “flu before boo” approach.
Schaffner assures that individuals can receive their flu vaccine and Covid-19 shots on the same day, usually in each arm. He also notes that the new RSV vaccines can be administered simultaneously with other vaccine classes as per the CDC’s recommendation.
According to Schaffner, it’s not mandatory for individuals to receive vaccines at the same time. If they want to disseminate them, that makes perfect sense.
Despite Schaffner’s caution, delayed vaccines are often unadvertised, so it is essential to motivate oneself to obtain the vaccine and visit your doctor twice or third times to ensure receiving all available vaccinations.
What are the places to get vaccinated?
The new Covid-19 vaccine will be available at select retail pharmacies by the end of the week.
The new COVID-19 vaccines will be gradually distributed to CVS Pharmacy locations, as stated by CVSA in a statement to CNN.
The Covid-19 vaccine appointment is currently being booked by patients through the CVS and Walgreens websites.
Dr. Kevin Ban, Walgreens’ Chief Medical Officer, announced this week that appointments can be made within 24 hours following a recommendation from the CDC.
This week, Ban stated that appointments will be made available as stores receive vaccines on a rolling basis.
The COVID-19 vaccine will be available in Rite Aid stores soon, as the company announced that their online scheduler will launch on Friday, September 15, with appointments available.
Federally qualified health centers and doctors’ offices will both have access to the vaccine.
The flu and RSV vaccines for older adults can be obtained through appointments at participating retail outlets such as CVS and Walgreens, as well as doctor’s offices and local health clinics.
The expense of vaccinations is high.
The updated Covid-19 vaccines will be available for free to most health insurance beneficiaries at their doctor’s office or pharmacy, with most insurance plans now covering the full cost without co-pays under the Affordable Care Act.
The Covid-19 vaccine can be obtained for free by approximately 28 million uninsured or underinhabitable Americans, as reported by KFF.
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The government’s Bridge Access Program will allow individuals to obtain Covid-19 vaccines at no cost from health departments and federally qualified health clinics. Providers from the program will be included in the Vaccines,gov website this week to assist people in finding free vaccine locations.
The program will include the new Covid-19 vaccine, as announced by both CVS and Walgreens.
The CDC’s Vaccines for Children program will provide free vaccines to low-income children.
Most insurance plans, including Obamacare, will continue to provide free flu shots, and Medicare Part B covers flu vaccinations for adults aged 65 and above.
The new RSV vaccines for seniors may require a prescription from docs and may not be covered by insurance, at around $300. Schaffner said that individuals who are concerned about coverage should consult with their insurance company for guidance.
The report was aided by the contributions of CNN’s Brenda Goodman, Deidre McPhillips, and Jacqueline Howard.