New COVID vaccines will be readily available, ODH says
The Ohio Department of Health said on Thursday that they fully expect updated COVID-19 vaccinations will be readily available to Ohioans as they come to pharmacy shelves late this week.
The news comes just days after the US Food and Drug Administration approved a new booster for use, which is formulated to better target newer, predominantly circulating variants of the coronavirus.
The CDC is recommending the new vaccines for anyone 6 months old or older who have not had a vaccine in the past two months.
In a release, ODH said they expect supplies of the new vaccine to hit shelves late this week across the state.
Dr. Bruce Vanderhoff, Director of ODH, said that most Ohioans should incur no out-of-pocket costs to receive the new vaccine.
"If you have medical insurance, and that includes Medicare or Medicaid, vaccines should be covered as a preventive health service, which means you likely will have no out-of-pocket costs," said Dr. Vanderhoff. "Those without insurance can take advantage of several programs to ensure they can continue to get free vaccines, as well."
For uninsured adults, the CDC has created the Bridge Access Program, which will be in effect through the end of 2024. As part of that program, the CDC has contracted with CVS, Walgreens, and eTrue North pharmacies to allow them to continue offering free COVID-19 vaccinations to the uninsured.
Individuals will be able to visit vaccines.gov to find providers participating in this program.
Vanderhoff also stressed the importance of making sure you're properly vaccinated heading into the winter months, where more people spending time indoors results in higher transmission rates for most viral diseases.
"As we head into fall and winter, which typically are when we see increases in respiratory viruses, it is important that Ohioans keep up with their vaccines," Dr. Vanderhoff said.