As COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations continue to rise in Ohio, new COVID vaccines are expected to be available soon. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that everyone 6 months and older get an updated COVID vaccine, which functions more like a seasonal vaccine. The vaccine is expected to be available in a few weeks.
The cost of the new COVID vaccine is estimated to be around $129, as it is FDA-approved. However, it will be covered by commercial insurance, Medicaid, and Medicare Part D plans.
Although Ohio is currently experiencing an increase in hospitalizations, it is nowhere near the peak of the omicron surge. Dr. Joe Gastaldo, an infectious disease doctor, explains that the individuals being hospitalized with COVID-19 are generally older or have underlying health conditions. High-risk individuals are encouraged to get the new COVID vaccine.
Even younger, healthier adults should consider getting the updated vaccine. It can reduce the risk of infection and transmission for a certain period of time. If they live with someone who is at risk or compromised, the decision to get vaccinated becomes even more important.
For those who are healthy and do not live with immunocompromised individuals, the decision to get the vaccine is more of an individual case basis. Factors such as vaccination history and previous COVID infections may play a role in the decision-making process.
As for requirements by schools or employers, it is unlikely that the new COVID vaccine will be mandated. While it is recommended that everyone gets vaccinated, there are no current plans for mandates.
Looking ahead, the COVID vaccines may become similar to flu shots, requiring an update or booster shot each year. The CDC and FDA have alluded to the likelihood of an annual COVID vaccine, similar to the flu shot. It signals a shift away from using the term “booster” and towards the idea of an updated vaccine to address future respiratory virus seasons.
– Dr. Steve Feagins, medical director of Hamilton County Public Health
– Dr. Joe Gastaldo, infectious disease doctor with Ohio Health
– Pediatrician Chris Peltier