The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention or CDC has recommended everyone 6 months and older to get an updated COVID-19 vaccine ahead of the virus season this fall and winter.
The agency expects the updated COVID-19 vaccines from Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna, which was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration earlier this week, to be available later this week.
Updated COVID-19 vaccine is recommended for those who have not received a COVID-19 vaccine in the past 2 months.
It was on Monday that the FDA approved and authorized for emergency use updated COVID-19 vaccines against currently circulating variants and to provide better protection against serious consequences of COVID-19, including hospitalization and death.
The FDA approval was given to the updated mRNA vaccines for 2023-2024 manufactured by ModernaTX and Pfizer. These vaccines have been updated to include a monovalent (single) component that corresponds to the Omicron variant XBB.1.5.
According to CDC, vaccination remains the best protection against COVID-19-related hospitalization and death, and also reduces effects of Long COVID, which can develop during or following acute infection and last for an extended duration Meanwhile, due to the changing nature of virus that causes COVID-19, protection from COVID-19 vaccines declines over time. An updated COVID-19 vaccine can restore protection and provide enhanced protection against variants.
The agency noted that greater protection against illness and hospitalization was reported during last season in those who received a 2022-2023 COVID-19 vaccine than those who did not receive a 2022-2023 vaccine.
As per the FDA, individuals 5 years of age and older regardless of previous vaccination are eligible to receive a single dose of an updated mRNA COVID-19 vaccine at least 2 months since the last dose of any COVID-19 vaccine.
Individuals 6 months through 4 years of age who have previously been vaccinated are eligible to receive one or two doses of an updated mRNA vaccine.
Further, unvaccinated individuals 6 months through 4 years of age are eligible to receive three doses of the updated authorized Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine or two doses of the updated authorized Moderna vaccine.
COVID-19 vaccine is still offered in the country free of cost. For people with health insurance, most plans will cover the vaccine at no cost. Meanwhile, those lacking health insurance or with health plans that do not cover the cost can get a free vaccine from their local health centers; state, local, tribal, or territorial health department; and pharmacies participating in the CDC’s Bridge Access Program.
In this fall and winter virus season, vaccines are available for the three viruses responsible for most hospitalizations – COVID-19, RSV, and flu, CDC said.
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