On September 12, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) endorsed the vaccine recommendations of its independent panel of advisors, the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP). Everyone aged 6 months and older is eligible to receive a 2023-2024 COVID-19 vaccine, made by Pfizer and Moderna. In the coming days, the vaccine will start to be available at pharmacies and physicians’ offices in addition to federally qualified health centers, free clinics, and local health department offices. Virginians should speak with their healthcare providers about receiving the vaccine.
Persons aged 65 years and older and people with compromised immune systems are at higher risk for severe illness, hospitalization and death associated with COVID-19. Therefore, it is especially important for older adults to consider this vaccine and discuss it with their healthcare provider. The 2023-2024 COVID-19 vaccines are designed to target the Omicron variant XBB.1.5. Studies have shown that these vaccines can also protect against severe outcomes from other Omicron variants, such as BA.2.86 and EG.5.
Additionally, COVID-19 vaccines will now be available on the commercial market. According to CDC, most Americans will still get a COVID-19 vaccine with no out-of-pocket cost. People with insurance will likely pay nothing out of pocket for the vaccine. Those who are uninsured or underinsured can access free COVID-19 vaccines through two federal programs, the Bridge Access Program for adults and the Vaccines for Children program. These vaccines will be available to eligible persons at local health departments and participating pharmacies and healthcare providers. To find vaccine locations participating in the Bridge Access Program, visit Vaccines.gov. To find a Vaccine for Children program provider, visit vdh.virginia.gov/immunization/vvfc.
VDH remains dedicated to preventing severe illness and death from COVID-19, particularly for people at higher risk, and will continue working to reduce the impact of COVID-19 in the state. Vaccination is one of many strategies to prevent COVID-19. Other important steps in combatting the virus are frequent handwashing, good respiratory hygiene that includes coughing and sneezing into your elbow, getting tested if you’re feeling sick, staying home if you are sick, and consulting with your healthcare provider to see if you are eligible for treatment. The VDH COVID-19 dashboards allow Virginians to stay abreast of the current state of COVID-19 trends in their community; the dashboards are available on the VDH website.
If you are interested in obtaining more information about the COVID-19 vaccine, check the Vaccinate Virginia website or contact the VDH Call Center. Call 877-VAX-IN-VA (877-829-4682, TTY users call 7-1-1), 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. Assistance is available in English, Spanish, and more than 100 other languages.