CDC recommends new COVID booster: Cost, timing and more

For the first time, the cost of the shots will not be covered by the federal government.
For the first time, the cost of the shots will not be covered by the federal government.
Published: Sep. 14, 2023 at 5:44 AM CDT
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MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) -Everyone ages 6 months and older should get the updated COVID vaccines this fall, a recommendation signed off by the The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention director, Tuesday.

This announcement following a vote from the CDC’s advisory committee early Tuesday in favor of the recommendation as well as the doses, made by Pfizer and Moderna, being greenlit by the Food and Drug Administration on Monday.

The new COVID shots, target a subvariant of omicron, called XBB.1.5. The CDC said more than 90% of the circulating COVID viruses, are closely related to that strain.

What will the new shots cost?

For the first time, the cost of the new updated shots will not be covered by the federal government due to the fact the federal health emergency surrounding the coronavirus pandemic has ended.

Pfizer and Moderna are pricing vaccine doses at more than $100, but officials say the shots will still be free for the vast majority of Americans that are covered by private health insurance or public plans such as Medicare.

“The cost is going to vary based on insurance coverage and other factors and so we recommend that patients investigate the cost of the vaccine, before they get it,” said Dr. Franta, SSM Health WI Region Chief Medical Officer and Interim Chief Clinical Officer. “We are hopeful that most insurance companies will include this in routine vaccine coverage, which would make most of these vaccines low, low to no cost.”

Who is eligible?

Updated COVID-19 vaccines are recommended for everyone 6 months and older this fall, similar to the way we get routine flu shots.

Dr. Franta deducing, “we’re going to do an updated vaccine to protect our communities against the dominant strains that come that year.”

When and where can I get my shot?

Per the CDC, updated COVID-19 vaccines will be available by the end of this week at most places you would normally go to get your vaccines; however, Dr. Franta said that should be taken as a minimum timeframe in Wisconsin.

In past vaccine rollouts, Franta said its taken anywhere between two and five days to receive supply and have everything ready for patients.

“What I would recommend is that people start watching for notifications about health systems opening up their supply and when they have them, they’re ready to go. Same with our local pharmacies. I bet we’ll start seeing signs pop up in the next couple of days when the new doses are available,” Dr. Franta said.

She went on to advise residents start by reaching out to their primary care providers.

Moderna or Pfizer?

Both the CDC and FDA initially endorsed mixing-and-matching COVID boosters in Oct. 2021.

“For the case of this vaccine, you can actually do what we refer to as mix-and-match,” Dr. Franta said. “You don’t have to match the primary series or the boosters that you’ve had previously.”

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