The updated COVID-19 vaccine, designed to target the variants of the virus currently spreading, is now available at large pharmacy chains, with more pharmacies, clinics, and health centers expected to offer it in the coming days and weeks. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that everyone aged 6 months and older receive this updated vaccine, developed by Moderna and Pfizer BioNTech, in order to boost their immunity to COVID-19.
The new vaccine is particularly important now, as we enter the fall and winter respiratory virus season and witness a rise in COVID-19 hospitalizations nationwide. Public health officials assure that this updated vaccine offers better protection against severe illness, hospitalization, and death than its predecessors, as it has been reformulated to target the strains that are currently spreading.
If you’re wondering where and how to get the updated COVID-19 vaccine in Wisconsin, CVS and Walgreens are currently accepting appointments for vaccination. Visit cvs.com/immunizations/covid-19-vaccine to schedule an appointment at a CVS location near you, or go to walgreens.com/findcare/schedule-vaccine to book an appointment at a nearby Walgreens. Additionally, you can find other healthcare providers offering the vaccine near you by visiting vaccines.gov.
Most insurance plans will cover the updated COVID-19 vaccine at no cost to covered patients. If you don’t have insurance or if your plan doesn’t cover it, some pharmacies and clinics are participating in a federal program called the Bridge Access Program, which provides the vaccine free of charge to uninsured and underinsured adults. CVS and Walgreens are among the providers participating in this program.
Children who are eligible for Medicaid or who are uninsured or enrolled members of a recognized tribal nation can receive the vaccine at no cost through the federal Vaccines for Children program. To find participating healthcare providers in Wisconsin, visit dhs.wisconsin.gov/immunization/vfc-provider.htm.
Please note that the City of Milwaukee Health Department offers a free vaccination clinic four days a week. However, they are currently awaiting the arrival of the new COVID-19 vaccines before they can resume giving COVID-19 shots.
Sources: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, CVS, Walgreens, vaccines.gov, dhs.wisconsin.gov/immunization/vfc-provider.htm.