This fall, three vaccines are available to help Minnesotans protect themselves and their loved ones from serious illness
Along with the seasonal flu shot, new COVID and RSV vaccines are now available
You may be used to hearing ‘Don’t forget your flu shot’ this time of year but now there are two new vaccinations that should be considered. This is the first fall and winter virus season where vaccines are available for two other major respiratory viruses –COVID-19 and RSV.
Updated COVID vaccine
A new, updated COVID-19 vaccine has been approved by the FDA and—just like the influenza vaccine—is recommended for adults and children as young as six months.
Who should get the new COVID vaccine?
Even if you’ve never received a COVID-19 vaccine, adults and children as young as age five are eligible to receive the new, updated vaccine. Children six months to age four who have never received the vaccine are eligible to receive a series of three doses of the updated Pfizer vaccine or a two-dose series of the new Moderna vaccine.
Getting vaccinated against COVID-19 is still the most effective way to prevent serious illness, hospitalization, and death from the virus. The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) says it is important to make sure you are up to date on any COVID-19 vaccine doses you are recommended to get to have the best protection against COVID-19.
Will you have to pay for the new COVID vaccine?
Even though the COVID Public Health Emergency has ended, people with private or public insurance coverage should know that COVID vaccines and boosters will continue to be covered with no cost-sharing as a preventive services benefit, with plans covering 100% of the cost when received at a network provider, like any other vaccine.
“Previously special rules applied for COVID-19 vaccines, but they are now treated like any other vaccine,” said Lucas Nesse, president and CEO of the Minnesota Council of Health Plans. “This means it’s important to stay within your plan’s network.”
You can find out where to get the vaccine at no cost to you by calling the number on the back of your insurance card.
But what if you don’t have insurance?
A new federal program will be offered this fall for uninsured people to ensure they have access to the COVID-19 vaccine at no cost to them. You can get no-cost COVID-19 vaccines at healthcare providers, federally supported health centers, and retail pharmacy chains participating in the Bridge Access Program. Visit vaccines.gov to find providers that offer no-cost COVID-19 vaccines through the Bridge Access Program.
MDH is also working with local communities to provide free updated COVID vaccines. To locate a community vaccination event near you, call the MDH COVID-19 public hotline at 1-833-431-2053 Monday, Wednesday, Friday: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Tuesday, Thursday: 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.
New RSV vaccines
Finally, in addition to the influenza and COVID-19 vaccines, a new vaccine for Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) is also available this fall. The RSV vaccine is available in some locations in the U.S. and availability is expected to increase in the coming weeks. It is recommended for pregnant women and adults age 60 and older. Contact your provider to learn more.