A new COVID-19 vaccine was released in September of this year. It is recommended that everyone six months and older get the updated COVID-19 vaccine.
How updated COVID-19 vaccines help keep people healthy and safe
- COVID-19 still endangers people’s health Even though the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) declared the pandemic over in May 2023, the number of COVID-19 cases has increased since then—including the number of hospitalizations and deaths.
- New variants are new threats Previous versions of the COVID-19 vaccine may not protect against variants that have evolved since those versions became available to the public. The updated vaccine provides the best protection against the latest strains of the virus, including the XBB.1.5 version of Omicron. Experts also expect it to protect against any other XBB subvariants that emerge.
- Vaccination protection fades The immunity boost that people get from COVID-19 inoculation naturally declines over time, leaving them more vulnerable to the virus. Getting the updated vaccine revitalizes people’s resistance to infection and reduces the risk of severe infection resulting in hospitalization and/or death.
- Reduced risk of getting and spreading the virus Getting the COVID-19 vaccine significantly reduces people’s risk of getting and thus spreading COVID-19. The choice to get vaccinated not only protects the individual receiving the vaccine but also their loved ones and our community as a whole.
When patients come in for visits, check whether they have received the updated COVID-19 vaccine. If they haven’t, offer to vaccinate them. People can also get vaccinated at local pharmacies and clinics. Members under 18 must go to their pediatricians for vaccinations. Also, if your patients haven’t gotten the flu vaccine this year, offer that as well. You can administer both vaccines during the same visit.