An updated COVID-19 vaccine has been approved by the CDC. Gov. Kathy Hochul is urging New Yorkers to get the shot once it is available later this week. The 2023-24 vaccine, previously authorized by the federal Food and Drug Administration, is expected to be available throughout New York State in the coming days.
“The vaccine has always been the best way to protect yourself and your community against COVID-19, and this updated vaccine addresses newer strains of the virus that are currently circulating,” Hochul said in a press release. “As we enter the Fall season, when respiratory viruses circulate, it is vital that New Yorkers consider getting this updated vaccine to protect themselves from this still dangerous virus.”
The updated vaccine was reformulated to target a subvariant of Omicron, called XBB.1.5. According to the CDC, more than 90% of the COVID viruses circulating are closely related to that strain, with tests showing the updated vaccine effective at increasing immunity to a more recent variant, called BA.2.86.
Under the Affordable Care Act, most health insurance plans will cover the cost of COVID-19 vaccines, without the need for co-pays. Those who are uninsured, or whose insurance does not cover the updated vaccine, will have access to the shots free of charge through community health centers and pharmacies participating in the HHS’ Bridge Access Program.
Those getting the updated COVID-19 vaccine are also encouraged to ask their health care provider about other vaccines, including flu and RSV.
New York State Department of Health Commissioner Dr. James McDonald said, “As we head into the fall and winter months, and once again see an uptick in COVID across the State, I urge all New Yorkers to remember that COVID is a treatable disease, and we now have an updated vaccine that will help reduce your chance of serious illness and hospitalization. Remember, it’s about personal protection, personal prevention, and personal wellness.”
The updated vaccine is recommended for everyone 6 months or older who has not received a COVID-19 vaccine in the past two months to protect against potentially serious illness from COVID-19.
Recommended dosages vary depending on age and COVID-19 vaccine history:
- Children 6 months through 4 years, who are getting the vaccine for the first time, should get two doses of a Moderna vaccine or three doses of a Pfizer vaccine.
- Children 6 months through 4 years who have been previously vaccinated should get just one dose of either updated vaccine.
- Those 5 through 11 are eligible to receive a single dose of the updated vaccine at least 2 months after their last dose of any COVID-19 vaccine regardless of previous vaccination.
- Those 12 and older who have been previously vaccinated are recommended to get a single dose of either the Pfizer or Moderna updated vaccine.
- Those 12 and older who have not been previously vaccinated are recommended to get a two-shot series.
- Those who have been infected with COVID-19 within the last two months should speak with a health care provider.
At-home COVID-19 tests remain available at many local pharmacies statewide, and New York continues to make high-quality N-95 masks and test kits available to state and county officials by request. New Yorkers can also find the current COVID-19 vaccine sites here.