Coronavirus: Updated COVID-19 booster vaccines now in pharmacies

The updated, omicron-specific COVID-19 booster shots approved last week by the Food and Drug Administration are now in many local pharmacies and health care facilities.

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The shots from Pfizer and Moderna are bivalent, meaning that they target both the original COVID-19 strain and the omicron BA.5 variant.

The updated Pfizer booster will be available to anyone age 12 or older, and the Moderna shot is available for those age 18 and older.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, a person must have completed the two-shot series of the messenger RNA, or mRNA, vaccines (the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines) at least two months before getting the updated booster shot.

In addition, the CDC recommends that those who have had COVID-19 recently should wait at least three months before getting the updated booster.

CVS is offering both updated boosters. You can schedule those appointments on the CVS website. Walgreens is also offering both Pfizer and Moderna’s new boosters. You can schedule appointments on the Walgreens website.

Some pharmacies do not yet have the updated boosters, but they will soon.

State health department websites may indicate clinics that already have the booster.

HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra told reporters on Tuesday that “By the end of this week, over 90 percent of Americans will live within five miles of these new updated vaccines.”

“We expect appointments to be widely available within the next week or so,” Becerra said.

According to Dr. Ashish Jha, the head of the White House COVID-19 Response Team, said newly authorized updated COVID-19 boosters will be free of charge to those who qualify for them.

The Biden administration announced Tuesday that the U.S. is moving toward annual shots against COVID-19.