An updated COVID-19 vaccine booster has recently been made available in the United States, but there are challenges in aligning the supply with the demand in various communities. Michigan’s Attorney General, Dana Nessel, expressed her frustration when she scheduled a vaccination appointment at a CVS Pharmacy only to find out that they had run out of shots. State Senator Dayna Polehanki had a similar experience, but she was notified about the shortage before her appointment.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the latest update to the COVID vaccine on September 11, which is recommended for everyone 6 months and older by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Pfizer and Moderna are producing a monovalent mRNA shot specifically targeting the omicron variant XBB.1.5. Studies have shown that the updated vaccine is similarly effective against other circulating omicron variants.
CVS Pharmacy stores are receiving the updated vaccine on a rolling basis, but there have been delivery delays to select locations leading to rescheduled appointments. The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services acknowledges that demand for the vaccine may be higher than the available supply at this time, but they anticipate that the supply will improve gradually. While one provider may run out of the vaccine, other providers in the state should still have supply. Moderna states that they have shipped millions of doses of the updated vaccine to their distributors in response to high demand.
Most residents can still receive the vaccine at no cost. The CDC’s Bridge Access Program provides free vaccines for those without insurance or whose plans don’t cover the shot. Vaccines can be accessed through health care providers, federally supported health centers, and retail pharmacies participating in the program. Vaccine providers, such as CVS Pharmacy, are required to add vaccine availability to Vaccines.gov.
Dr. Natasha Bagdasarian, the state health department’s chief medical executive, emphasizes the importance of getting the shot to protect oneself and loved ones during the fall and winter virus seasons. It is also advised to check with healthcare providers to ensure that all routine vaccines are up to date.