Three years into the COVID-19 pandemic, many people continue to take important steps to protect themselves from COVID-19 through vaccination, booster shots and other safety measures.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), since COVID-19 vaccine distribution began in the U.S. at the end of 2020, 73.1% of Americans five years or older have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19. But with a virus that is constantly evolving, it’s important to keep up to date on the latest recommendations for vaccines and booster shots to ensure you’ve got the best protection available.
With a virus that is constantly evolving, it’s important to keep up to date on the latest recommendations for vaccines and booster shots to ensure you’ve got the best protection available.
The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) follows the CDC’s guidance on COVID-19 vaccines and booster shots. Whether you’re unvaccinated and ready for your first dose, or you’re wondering if you need a booster, check out the info below to learn more.
Updated booster shots are available at no cost at most VA health facilities. These updated boosters, often called the bivalent boosters, protect against both the original virus strain and the Omicron variant. The CDC recommends that everyone who is at least five years old should get an updated booster shot.
- An updated booster will protect you even more against COVID-19.
- You should get your updated booster shot at least two months after you completed your primary vaccine series or got your last booster.
- It’s safe to get your flu vaccine at the same time as your booster shot.
To find out if you’re eligible for a booster through VA, check out VA eligibility guidelines. Eligibility guidelines have expanded since the vaccines first became available to include all Veterans, spouses of Veterans, caregivers of Veterans and recipients of Civilian Health and Medical Program of the Department of Veterans Affairs (CHAMPVA) benefits.
If you’re eligible to get a booster shot, contact your local VA health facility to find out how you can get your shot, either by appointment or at a walk-in vaccine clinic. You can also get a booster shot in your community. VA’s site allows you to search for in-network community care providers as well. Most urgent care centers and retail pharmacies also offer both COVID-19 vaccines and boosters.
If you haven’t started your primary COVID-19 vaccine series yet, you can still get an original COVID-19 vaccine at the same locations currently promoting boosters.
If you haven’t started your vaccine series because you’re worried about the safety of the vaccine, the side effects or for any other reason, check out the following resources:
- The CDC offers several articles on the effectiveness and safety of COVID-19 vaccines.
- VA provides tons of information on why you should get the vaccine, why it’s safe and much more.
To stay up to date on COVID-19 vaccines and boosters and what’s recommended for you, follow the CDC’s guidelines and updates.