Two of the largest pharmacy chains in the country have revealed their plans for scheduling appointments for the updated COVID-19 vaccines designed to target newer coronavirus variants.
CVS Health has announced that, following the CDC’s approval on Tuesday, the updated COVID-19 vaccines will be accessible at their nationwide locations, encompassing over 350 CVS outlets in Ohio. Patients aged five and above can schedule appointments through CVS.com or the CVS Pharmacy app. Furthermore, group appointments are now an option, offering convenience for parents and caregivers to safeguard the entire family during a single visit.
Walgreens, on the other hand, has immediately opened appointment scheduling for eligible individuals, with nationwide availability starting on Monday, September 18. Additional appointments may be added as Walgreens stores receive vaccine shipments throughout the week. Appointments can be arranged via Walgreens’ website, the Walgreens app, or by calling 1-800-WALGREENS. More appointment slots will become available as inventory arrives at their stores.
These new mRNA vaccines are specifically formulated to combat variants and offer enhanced protection against severe COVID-19 outcomes, as stated by the FDA. To prevent the potential « tripledemic » of flu, COVID-19, and RSV, health officials strongly encourage Americans to stay up-to-date with seasonal immunizations and consider receiving multiple vaccines during one visit.
The CDC recommends that everyone aged 6 months and older should get an updated COVID-19 vaccine to protect themselves from potential severe COVID-19 illnesses during the upcoming fall and winter seasons. Updated COVID-19 vaccines from Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna are readily available. The CDC emphasizes that vaccination remains the most effective safeguard against COVID-19-related hospitalization and mortality.
Furthermore, vaccination reduces the risk of experiencing Long COVID, a condition that can develop during or after an acute infection and persist for an extended period.
If you haven’t received a COVID-19 vaccine in the past two months, the CDC strongly recommends getting an updated COVID-19 vaccine to ensure protection during the fall and winter. The virus responsible for COVID-19 is constantly evolving, and the efficacy of COVID-19 vaccines diminishes over time. An updated COVID-19 vaccine can restore and enhance protection against the prevalent variants causing most infections and hospitalizations in the United States.
The CDC’s data from the previous season reveals that those who received the 2022-2023 COVID-19 vaccine experienced greater protection against illness and hospitalization compared to those who didn’t receive the updated vaccine.
Fortunately, most Americans can still receive a COVID-19 vaccine free of charge. For individuals with health insurance, the majority of plans cover the COVID-19 vaccine at no cost. Those without health insurance or with plans that don’t cover the vaccine can obtain it for free from local health centers, state, local, tribal, or territorial health departments, and pharmacies participating in the CDC’s Bridge Access Program. Children eligible for the Vaccines for Children program can also receive the vaccine through enrolled providers.