(WJW) – A newly formulated COVID-19 vaccine should be available at pharmacies and doctor offices across the country this week, but how much will it cost?
The list price of a dose of each shot is $120 to $130, according to the manufacturers, but you likely won’t end up paying that.
Most insurance plans, along with Medicare or Medicaid, will cover the cost of the COVID-19 vaccine.
Americans who don’t have health insurance, or are underinsured, can still get the vaccine for free. For adults, the Bridge Access Program collaborates with pharmacies, local health centers and local healthcare providers to provide free access to the vaccine. The program is temporary, however, and is currently slated to stop giving out free vaccines at the end of December 2024.
Children who are uninsured or underinsured can also get the vaccine for free through the Vaccines for Children Program (VFC). You can find a caregiver or learn more about the program through the CDC’s website.
What is this new vaccine?
The latest formulation is designed to target the highly infectious XBB.1.5, which spread rapidly earlier this year and earned the unofficial nickname “The Kraken.”
Unlike previous vaccines, this one is monovalent and created with one target, unlike prior vaccines. The CDC has recommended it for everyone ages 6 months and older.
Pfizer, Moderna and Novavax all have brewed new supplies, and the FDA on Monday approved shots from Pfizer and Moderna. Novavax’s updated vaccine is still under review.
The Food and Drug Administration said in a statement Monday that the updated vaccines are expected to “provide good protection against COVID-19 from the currently circulating variants.”
The prior vaccine update was bivalent, targeting both the dominant subvariant of 2022, BA.5, as well as the original coronavirus strain.
Since that original strain is effectively gone, experts say, the bivalent vaccine is outdated.
Will Americans get the updated vaccine?
The severity of the COVID-19 pandemic has faded, but there are still hundreds of hospitalizations and hundreds of deaths in the U.S. each week. Hospitalizations have been increasing since late summer, though the latest data indicate infections may be starting to level off, particularly in the South.
Still, experts worry that immunity from previous vaccinations and infections is fading in many people, and a new shot would save many lives.
According to a survey last month that the CDC cited, about 42% said they would definitely or probably get the new vaccine. Yet only about 20% of adults got an updated booster when it was offered a year ago.
Doctors hope enough people get vaccinated to help avert another “tripledemic” like last year when hospitals were overwhelmed with an early flu season, an onslaught of RSV, or respiratory syncytial virus, and yet another winter coronavirus surge.
If you’re considering getting the latest COVID vaccine and the annual flu shot at the same time, the CDC says there is no difference in effectiveness or side effects.
You may, however, want to get one in each arm to feel more comfortable.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.