HAP's Latest News

New COVID-19 Boosters: 5 Facts to Know

September 13, 2023

Updated COVID-19 booster vaccines are expected to be available from pharmacies and health care providers by next week.

The CDC this week recommended the updated versions of the existing Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines for everyone six months and older.

Here are five facts to know.

  • Updated vaccine:  The updated mRNA vaccines are designed to work well against COVID-19 variants that are currently circulating, including BA.2.86. Data from studies of the new vaccines indicate they will likely provide strong protection during this fall and winter.
  • Benefits:  The vaccines protect against severe disease, hospitalization, death, and effects of “long COVID.” While older adults and people with weakened immune systems are most at risk for hospitalization and death, anyone can experience severe complications from COVID-19.
  • Timing:  While people who are most at risk for severe COVID-19 should get a booster right away, federal officials recommend that anyone six months or older who has not received a COVID-19 vaccination in the past two months get the updated vaccine.
  • Other vaccines:  The COVID-19 vaccines can be safely administered at the same time as an annual flu shot, according to the CDC. Experts say more data is needed related to getting the COVID-19 and RSV vaccines together and recommend spacing them out by a week or two.
  • Ensuring access:  The updated vaccines are free to anyone covered by private insurance, Medicare, and Medicaid. Uninsured children and adults also can access the vaccine through the Vaccine for Children Program and the Bridge Access Program.

A CDC fact sheet about the new COVID-19 booster is available online. Find vaccines near you via the CDC’s online search tool.