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Updated Covid-19 booster: Who is eligible and where can you access your shot?

The new Covid-19 booster shot is becoming available to residents throughout Riverside County, including in the Coachella Valley.

"For the new bivalent vaccine that has just recently been approved, we have preordered some vaccine and in addition to the supply thats coming to Public Health, there's also supply that has been ordered from a number of pharmacies throughout the county," according to Dr. Jennifer Chevinsky, Deputy Public Health Officer for Riverside County Department of Public Health.

The Riverside County Department of Health preordered 500 doses of the bivalent Moderna vaccine and are awaiting the arrival of 500 doses of preordered bivalent Pfizer vaccine, which officials anticipate will arrive this week, according to Dr. Chevinsky.

She said that "community providers across the county ordered ranges of 50 to 500 doses of vaccine" and that the county "will continue to order additional quantities as may be needed to continue with a steady supply, while also continuing to partner with our community pharmacies and healthcare providers." 

Dr. Jennifer Chevinsky, Deputy Public Health Officer for Riverside County Department of Public Health

It comes less than a week after the CDC recommended the first updated Covid-19 booster on September 1, 2022. The Food and Drug Administration authorized the updated booster shots a day prior.

Anyone who wants the new booster can get it not just through the county, but also through their primary care provider or local pharmacies.

"Ordering began last week in order to get supply. We're anticipating that we'll get a ramping up of supply this week and into next week. So we'll have vaccine available over the next few weeks for all who are interested," said Dr. Chevisnky.

Anyone 12 years and older is eligible for the updated Pfizer-BioNTech booster, as long as its been two months since their last Covid-19 vaccine.

Anyone 18 years of age and older is eligible for Moderna's new booster shot, as long as its been two months since their last Covid-19 vaccine.

"I recommend getting the booster that is available to you. You can mix and match, of course taking into consideration the age," explained Dr. Chevinsky.

If a person is currently experiencing Covid-19 symptoms or have tested positive for the virus, health officials recommend that person waits until they recover before getting a booster.

"There are some considerations about waiting. Up to around three months as a consideration, depending on your risk, before you go and get your booster shot," said Dr. Chevinsky. She added, "especially with school starting up and potential cases bring on the rise and knowing a lot of the testing is happening through home tests, being able to have this updated vaccine gives an opportunity for increased protection as we go forward."

The updated booster offers protection for both the previous variants of Covid-19, as well as the Omicron subvariants. "So now that we're seeing more cases that are in the Omicron family, this will help to bring heightened protection around that," said Dr. Chevinsky. She added, "if you're going to get your vaccine, you can get your Covid booster and your flu vaccine at the same time, there's no problem with that."

For now, Covid-19 vaccines are free to everyone.

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Article Topic Follows: Local News

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Jennifer Franco

Jennifer Franco is the weekend anchor/weekday reporter for KESQ News Channel 3

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