NOTE: Scroll down for how to schedule your appointment
Chicago-area pharmacies are among the first offering up doses of the new "bivalent" COVID booster shots, with more availability expected to open up this week.
CVS announced Friday, one day after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued its recommendation for the new vaccine, that some locations were already offering up doses of both Moderna and Pfizer's revamped booster shots. Appointments were already opened up and several continue to be available for this week.
Walgreens locations are also now booking appointments for the newly approved COVID booster shots that specifically target the highly contagious BA.4 and BA.5 omicron subvariants, the pharmacy said in a release Friday.
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“This season, we encourage everyone to stay protected by getting vaccinated with this more targeted updated COVID-19 booster in addition to receiving their flu shot or other routine immunizations in a single visit," Dr. Anita Patel, vice president of Walgreens' Pharmacy Services Development, said in the release.
Chicago has been given 150,000 doses of the updated vaccine from the federal government, according to the city's top doctor, who said additional appointments through the city are expected just after the Labor Day holiday.
Illinois health officials also urged people Friday to begin getting their doses this week.
“Once the updated booster shots become available next week, I urge everyone in Illinois who is eligible to take advantage of the opportunity to get fully protected before we enter the fall season,” IDPH Director Dr. Sameer Vohra said in statement Friday. “These new bivalent vaccines are designed to offer extra protection against the omicron variants which are now the dominant strain of the virus. Getting up to date now is especially important for those who are at risk of serious outcomes, as the updated vaccines offer protection from hospitalization and even death.”
The CDC on Thursday cleared the reformulated COVID shots following a nearly seven-hour meeting and a 13-1 vote by the agency's independent committee on vaccines. CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky signed off on the shots a few hours later, clearing the way for pharmacies to soon start administering the boosters.
But the shot isn't cleared for all ages, and the timing of an individual's last dose matters.
Only those who have completed a full COVID vaccine series, which consists of either of two Moderna or Pfizer shots or one Johnson & Johnson shot, are eligible.
Here's what to know about the shots and how to schedule an appointment.
How to Schedule a Booster Shot Appointment
CVS appointments are already available. Click here to find one near you.
According to Walgreens, scheduling an appointment for the new omicron-targeted booster shot can be made one of the following ways:
- Via Walgreens app
- Calling 1-800-WALGREENS
- Online, at Walgreens.com/ScheduleVaccine
Additional appointments will be added as select Walgreens locations begin to receive the updated boosters, the pharmacy says.
Who Can Get the New Booster? Who Should Get It?
According to the CDC, individuals 18 and older are eligible to receive either Pfizer’s or Moderna’s updated COVID booster shot.
While those younger than 18 years old are eligible for the new COVID booster, they aren't eligible for the Moderna dose. Only Pfizer booster doses can be administered to those aged 12 through 17.
According to a statement put out by the CDC Thursday, the Pfizer booster is recommended for anyone 12 and older, and the Moderna booster is recommended for anyone 18 and older.
Booster Shot Timing
The updated booster dose can be given to eligible individuals at least 2 months after they've received their last booster dose, the CDC says.