CDC Recommends Updated COVID-19 Vaccination for a Safer Fall and Winter

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As we approach the fall and winter months, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued a crucial recommendation: updated COVID-19 vaccinations for everyone six months and older. This timely advice aims to protect individuals and communities from the potentially severe outcomes of COVID-19 during the upcoming season. Here's what you need to know to stay safe and informed.

1. Updated vaccines from Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna

In response to the evolving nature of the COVID-19 virus, updated vaccines from Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna should be available this week. These vaccines are specifically designed to enhance protection against the variants currently responsible for most infections and hospitalizations in the U.S.

2. The importance of vaccination

Vaccination remains the most effective defense against COVID-19-related hospitalization and death. It significantly reduces the risk of severe illness. It can also lower the chances of experiencing the long-lasting effects of Long COVID, which can persist long after the acute infection has passed. If you haven't received a COVID-19 vaccine in the past two months, the CDC strongly recommends that you get an updated vaccine to safeguard yourself and those around you this fall and winter.

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What's going on in Florida?

Florida's Governor Ron DeSantis and his administration are breaking from federal advice, urging residents under 65 to skip Pfizer and Moderna's new Covid boosters, despite the CDC's strong recommendation for everyone aged six months and up to get boosted for better protection against Covid variants.

3. Why update your vaccine?

The virus that causes COVID-19 constantly changes, and the effectiveness of vaccines wanes over time. Updating your COVID-19 vaccine is essential to restore and enhance your immunity, ensuring you're well-guarded against new variants and potential outbreaks. Recent data from last season showed that individuals who received a 2022-2023 COVID-19 vaccine experienced greater protection against illness and hospitalization compared to those who did not.

4. Safety and monitoring

It's worth noting that hundreds of millions of people have safely received COVID-19 vaccines, with rigorous safety monitoring in place. The vaccines have undergone extensive testing to ensure their safety and effectiveness.

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CDC response to Florida

CDC Director Dr. Mandy Cohen fires back at Florida Governor Ron DeSantis and the state's surgeon general, defending the safety and effectiveness of the new COVID-19 boosters. Cohen labels their comments as "dangerous" and stresses the importance of vaccination to protect against hospitalizations, long-term health issues, and death.

5. Access to free vaccination

Most Americans can still access COVID-19 vaccines for free. Many health insurance plans cover the cost of vaccination. Free vaccines are available at local health centers, state, local, tribal, or territorial health departments, and participating pharmacies through the CDC's Bridge Access Program for those without health insurance or whose plans do not cover the vaccine. Children eligible for the Vaccines for Children program can also receive the vaccine through enrolled providers.

6. Additional precautions

This year, we face a unique situation with the presence of three viruses (COVID-19, R.S.V., and flu) responsible for most hospitalizations during the fall and winter. Alongside updated vaccines, at-home COVID-19 tests are an excellent tool to identify infections and protect your family, friends, and the broader community. If you become ill, consult your healthcare provider about proven, effective treatments to reduce the risk of severe illness, hospitalization, and death.

Director Mandy Cohen, M.D., M.P.H., emphasizes, "We have more tools than ever to prevent the worst outcomes from COVID-19. CDC is now recommending updated COVID-19 vaccination for everyone six months and older to better protect you and your loved ones."

Before we go . . .

Updated COVID-19 vaccines are vital for a safer fall and winter. By staying informed and taking advantage of these resources, you can help protect yourself, your loved ones, and your community from the ongoing threat of COVID-19.

Rebecca Edwards
Written by
Rebecca Edwards
Rebecca is the lead safety reporter and in-house expert for SafeWise.com. She has been a journalist and blogger for over 25 years, with a focus on home and community safety for the past decade. Rebecca spends dozens of hours every month poring over crime and safety reports and spotting trends. Her expertise is sought after by publications, broadcast journalists, non-profit organizations, podcasts, and more. You can find her expert advice and analysis in places like NPR, TechCrunch, The Washington Post, The Chicago Tribune, The Miami Herald, HGTV, MSN, Reader's Digest, Real Simple, and an ever-growing library of podcast, radio and TV clips in the US and abroad.

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