Monday, September 25, 2023
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When Should You Get the New COVID Booster?

Although we’re far better equipped with vaccines, high-quality masks, and other tools than we were in March of 2020, the lasting effects of COVID-19 are still very much with us—especially as a brand-new Omicron variant, BA.2.86 (nicknamed Pirola), makes its rounds, and cases begin to rise again.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved a new round of COVID boosters on Monday, but as updated guidelines emerge, many are still unclear on when they should receive the shot, or if, indeed, they qualify. Below, find all the information you need about the latest COVID booster.

When will the new COVID booster become available?

The details of the new booster’s rollout, which will likely vary by geographical area, aren’t clear as yet; the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have scheduled an advisory meeting for Tuesday about who should receive the new shots, and once the CDC director signs off, doses of the shots could become available within days. Dr. Kevin Ban, Walgreens’s chief medical officer, said on Monday that the chain would have the new COVID shots on hand “as soon as possible,” with CVS saying they expected to receive doses later this week.

How do I know if I’m eligible?

While the CDC has yet to make public its decision about who is (and is not) eligible to receive the new booster, it’s likely that individuals over 75, residents in long-term care or nursing facilities, and anyone with a comorbidity that might make getting COVID particularly risky—such as diabetes or cardiac disease—will be among the first approved. However, the FDA has granted full approval for the new formulas for people who are 12 and older, and authorized them to protect children aged six months to 11 years old, meaning that the booster will likely be available for anyone who received the original Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna vaccinations.

Where can I get the new COVID booster?

Pharmacies, clinics, and health systems across the country, including CVS and Walgreens, will be dispensing the new booster to those who are eligible to receive it, hopefully before the holiday season sets in and the risk of contracting COVID in indoor settings multiplies.



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