There’s a new updated COVID-19 vaccine just in time for the respiratory virus season

As mentioned last week and yesterday, with October here we have entered into respiratory illness season and it’s important to take precautions now to avoid serious illness. This week we are sharing a series of blogs on these illnesses, the precautions you can take now, how to find vaccines, and other vital information to help keep your families healthy this season. 

Updated COVID-19 vaccines for 2023-2024 were approved by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), just in time for the respiratory virus season. 

The course of COVID-19 is still unpredictable, but cases are expected to increase during the fall and winter. The CDC’s new forecasting site is predicting this respiratory season will have similar case numbers and hospitalizations compared to last year’s (which were high), making this fall the perfect time for you and your family to get an updated COVID-19 vaccine to protect yourself against the latest circulating variants. 

The virus that causes COVID-19 is always changing to try and get around our immune systems, so protection from COVID-19 vaccines and prior COVID infection declines over time. Everyone 6 months and older is encouraged to get the COVID-19 vaccine this season.  

The updated vaccines have been formulated to target currently circulating variants (including the omicron variant and its XBB lineage/sub-variants, like XBB.1.5), so your body is better able to fight them. These vaccines give your immune system a good idea of what the new virus variant looks like, so if/when you are infected down the line, your body can fight against COVID-19 more easily. In this way, this year’s new vaccines restore protection against a severe case of COVID-19, which can result in hospitalization or death. 

There are three types of updated COVID-19 vaccines currently available, recommended by the CDC:

  • Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech each have an updated vaccine available for those 6 months and older.
    • For people ages 5 years and older, one dose of either updated vaccine is enough to get up-to-date, regardless of prior vaccination status. 
    • For younger children (ages 6 months to 4 years) the number of vaccines needed depends on how many doses of COVID-19 vaccine they’ve had previously. Parents should discuss their child’s specific situation with their pediatrician or healthcare provider.    
  • The updated Novavax vaccine (a non-mRNA protein subunit vaccine) has also been authorized by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for people 12 years of age and older. This vaccine is available for both unvaccinated (2 doses) and previously vaccinated individuals (1 dose).

All three types of vaccine have been recommended by the CDC, and all of the updated 2023-2024 vaccines provide effective immunization against COVID-19.

In addition to the common-sense precautions that will protect you and your family from respiratory illness (cover your cough, wash hands, stay home when sick), ADHS recommends that everyone ages six months and older get an updated COVID-19 vaccine this respiratory illness season. Very young children can receive their vaccines at their pediatrician’s office or from your local health department. For school age children, teens, and adults, vaccines are available in area pharmacies and some primary care offices. 

The Bridge Access Program also provides no-cost COVID-19 vaccines that are available to adults 18 and older without health insurance, and to adults whose health insurance does not cover all COVID-19 vaccine costs.

Visit vaccines.gov to find a vaccine location near you. Be sure to inquire ahead to ensure the location has the updated vaccine in stock, and is administering it to the age range that you/your family needs. 

If you need to order additional free at home COVID tests, place your order at covid.gov/tests

Visit the ADHS COVID website and dashboard, or the CDC’s website, for the latest COVID information and data and to read additional FAQs about the COVID vaccine

Recommend0 recommendationsPublished in My Healthy Arizona

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