Where To Find The New Omicron BA-5 Subvariant Booster Near You

The FDA has authorized Covid booster shots that target the omicron BA.5 subvariant as the U.S. prepares for another surge of infections this fall and winter. It's the first time the FDA has authorized an updated vaccine formula since the original shots rolled out in December 2020.

They may already be available at a vaccine site near you.

The Omicron BA.5 Subvariant 
The new shots from Pfizer and Moderna are bivalent, meaning that they target both the original Covid strain and omicron’s BA.5 subvariant. Last week, the FDA and the CDC approved Pfizer’s for ages 12 and older, and Moderna for 18 and older.

To be eligible, you’ll need to have completed your primary vaccination series — and be at least two months out from your last dose of any Covid vaccine, according to the CDC. If you’ve recently had Covid, you should consider waiting three months after testing negative before getting your updated booster.

The new shots are free of charge for now. Here’s where you can get them if you’re eligible:

Walgreens’ online scheduling tool makes it clear that a location is offering the “updated booster.” Other pharmacies and clinics, including CVS, aren't as clear, BUT any booster you receive now will be the new one, according to recent FDA guidance.

That’s because when the FDA authorized the new boosters last week, it also changed its authorization for the original “monovalent” vaccines that have been used since December 2020. Those original shots can’t be used as booster doses for people 12 and over anymore, though they’re still the only primary vaccine options for unvaccinated people.

More than 200 million people are eligible for the new shots, a CDC official said last week. So far, the country has secured 171 million doses of the new boosters, including 105 million from Pfizer and 66 million from Moderna — an indicator that the country’s supply of free doses will likely meet demand from the general public.

Appointment availability will likely ramp up in the coming days and weeks. The doses are still being shipped out to vaccine sites across the country. So keep checking if they're not in yet.

Author
Dr. Mark L. Meyer Dr. Meyer graduated from Haverford College with a Bachelor of Science, High Honors, in cellular and molecular biology, Phi Beta Kappa, Magna Cum Laude. He attended the Yale University School of Medicine, where he also completed a categorical residency in Internal Medicine, served for one year as an Emergency Department attending physician, and held the title of Clinical Instructor in the Department of Surgery. During this time, Dr. Meyer obtained a J.D. from the Yale Law School, concentrating on medical ethics, scientific research law, and FDA law. He then completed a fellowship in Cardiovascular Diseases at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, where he obtained Level 3 Nuclear Cardiology training.

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