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More Info on the Updated COVID-19 Vaccine. By Our Student Pharmacist, Jadelyn Cheng.

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In the season of flu and RSV, it’s time to start thinking about getting your updated COVID-19 vaccine.

You may have encountered the term “booster” in the past few months for the COVID vaccine. However, major health organizations are moving away from that term in efforts to emphasize that this is an “updated COVID vaccine.”

Just like we receive an updated flu vaccine every year to guard against the most common influenza strain, it’s likely that we will eventually move towards a schedule where people can anticipate receiving an updated COVID-19 vaccine annually to safeguard against the most common COVID strain of that year.

Updates + Efficacy

The 2023-2024 formulation of the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines are based on an omicron subvariant, XBB.1.5. They are still effective against the variants that are causing a majority of COVID cases in the United States at this time, which includes emerging strains such as EG.5 (Eris), FL.1.5.1 (Fornax), and BA.2.86 (Pirola).

Vaccination continues to be the safest and most effective way to achieve protection against current variants.


If you’ve received the COVID vaccine before: Everyone aged 5 and older should get one updated COVID-19 vaccine at least two months after getting the last dose of any COVID-19 vaccine. However, in special circumstances, someone is eligible for additional updated doses.

If you’ve never received any COVID vaccine before: The same guidelines still apply! You are considered up to date on your vaccinations after receiving one dose of the updated ’23-’24 vaccine. If you have recently had COVID, you may have some protection against severe disease and reinfection. However, getting the updated COVID-19 vaccine is still recommended three to six months after experiencing symptoms or testing positive.

If you are considering other vaccines at this time: The flu shot and COVID vaccines are entirely safe to receive at the same time. As for RSV, studies are ongoing since this is the first season with the RSV vaccine. However, it is still believed that you can receive the RSV and COVID-19 vaccines together. They can be given two weeks apart if you prefer to receive only one vaccine at a time.

View official recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Protection (CDC) here: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/stay-up-to-date.html 


COVID-19 vaccines were free for all Americans during the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency, which officially ended on May 11th, 2023. However, since vaccination is the most effective protection against severe disease, the updated COVID-19 vaccine should be covered under most private insurance and Medicare.

The CDC’s Bridge Access Program provides no-cost COVID-19 vaccines for uninsured or underinsured.

Visit http://www.vaccines.gov/ to find providers that offer these services. 

At Plain City Druggist and all three Happy Druggist locations, we will administer Moderna’s Spikevax (COVID-19 Vaccine, mRNA) (2023-2024 Formula) to anyone 12 years and older. Walk-ins are always welcome!


CDC (2023). Use of COVID-19 Vaccines in the United States. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases. https://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/covid-19/clinical-considerations/covid-19-vaccines-us.html?CDC_AA_refVal=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.cdc.gov%2Fvaccines%2Fcovid-19%2Finfo-by-product%2Fclinical-considerations.html

Rosen, A (2023). What to Know About the Updated COVID-19 Vaccine for Fall/Winter 2023. Johns Hopkins University, Bloomberg School of Public Health. https://publichealth.jhu.edu/2023/what-to-know-about-the-updated-covid-19-vaccine-for-fall/winter-2023



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