The Benton County Health Department is encouraging anyone age 6 months or older to receive an updated COVID-19 vaccine.
The newest vaccines were approved by the Food and Drug Administration in September and the Centers for Disease Control are recommending them, the county said.
According to the CDC, the newest vaccines — made by Pfizer, Moderna, and Novavax — were created to more closely target currently circulating strains of coronavirus. The vaccines will reportedly reduce the risk of developing severe COVID-19 complications and hospitalization, ultimately protecting against avoidable severe illness or death.
“The newest COVID-19 vaccines are effective at saving and protecting lives and health system dollars while also reducing strains on health-care resources and the workforce,” the county said through a news release. “Vaccination is especially important as we head into the winter, a common time when COVID-19 and other respiratory diseases circulate in high volume across the country.”
Shipments of the newest vaccines have continued to arrive at local pharmacies and health-care providers, the county points out, though the commercialization of the vaccines has resulted in some shipping delays so supplies may still be limited in some locations. Find a vaccine through a health-care provider, local pharmacy, online at vaccines.gov or by calling 211.
Since the federal public health emergency ended in May,, the COVID-19 vaccine is no longer provided at no cost. But county officials said most people will still be able to get a vaccine for free.
For people with health insurance, most plans will cover COVID-19 vaccines at no cost, although the use of an approved, in-network pharmacy or health-care facility may be necessary. Those with questions should check in with the insurance provider.
People who don’t have health insurance, or who have health plans that do not cover the cost of COVID-19 vaccines, may receive a no-cost vaccine through the CDC’s new Bridge Access Program. Providers will ask patients whether they have health insurance at the point of care to determine eligibility. Visit vaccines.gov to find a provider that offers no-cost COVID-19 vaccines through the program.
The Benton County Health Department also provides vaccines at no cost to eligible children and some adults through the Bridge Access Program and the Vaccines for Children program. Call 541-766-6835 to check availability.