Vaccine, injection

The Tompkins County Health Department is alerting the community of the CDC’s recent recommendation FDA-authorized Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine booster doses. The updated booster dose provides enhanced protection against the COVID-19 variants. Eligible individuals should contact their healthcare provider or a local pharmacy to learn more about vaccine availability and schedule an appointment or search online at vaccines.gov. TCHD is encouraging all eligible individuals to stay up to date on vaccinations and receive a booster dose.

The updated, or bivalent, COVID-19 boosters add Omicron BA.4 and BA.5 spike protein components to the current vaccine composition. This addition helps restore protection that has decreased since previous vaccination by targeting variants that are more transmissible and evade the immune system. Receiving an updated booster dose will increase your protection against current variants, reducing severity of illness should you become infected.

You are eligible to receive an updated booster dose at least 2 months following your last vaccination, regardless of whether it was a completion of your initial series, a 1st booster or a 2nd booster dose. Those ages 12+ can receive the Pfizer-BioNTech booster while those ages 18+ can receive the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna booster. To find out if you are eligible for a booster dose, use the CDC’s interactive, online Booster Tool.

The booster doses will be primarily available at local pharmacies and healthcare provider offices. Find a vaccine near you online at vaccines.gov or dial 2-1-1 (1-877-211-8667) for assistance. You will need to present your vaccination card demonstrating which vaccine you were given and the date your vaccine was received to obtain an updated booster dose.

The booster doses will also be available at TCHD’s Immunization Clinics, which are held on Fridays by appointment only, for eligible adults and children. 

Children are eligible to attend TCHD’s Immunization Clinics if they:

  • Are currently enrolled in Medicaid
  • Have Child Health Plus
  • Are underinsured: their insurance does not cover the vaccine
  • Do not have insurance
  • Are Native American or Alaska Native

Adults are eligible to attend TCHD’s Immunization Clinics if they:

  • Are underinsured: your insurance does not cover the vaccine
  • Do not have insurance

If you or your children are eligible for this service, please call Community Health Services at 607-274-6604 to schedule an appointment.

Public Health Director Frank Kruppa stated, “The updated booster will provide enhanced protection against the current strains of variants, which is especially important as we approach flu season. We encourage everyone who is eligible and able to get vaccinated and stay up to date on their vaccinations. Vaccines continue to be safe and effective at preventing severe illness, hospitalization and death.”

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