COVID Booster Is Coming, but Here’s Why You May Not Get It

Toronto Star/Getty
Toronto Star/Getty

A new COVID-19 booster could be available as early as Friday according to NBC, but it is unclear who will be eligible for the new shot, and whether insurance companies will cover the cost.

The latest shot is likely to be authorized by the Food and Drug Administration, the outlet reports, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s independent panel of advisers will meet on Sept. 12 to decide eligibility recommendations. Once the CDC director signs off, shots could become available almost immediately.

The report comes as health giant Moderna announced its latest COVID-19 booster shot is effective against the new BA.2.86 omicron subvariant. Their latest clinical trial data showed the shot produced a strong antibody response to the highly mutated variant, the company said in a statement Wednesday, as well as two other circulating variants, EG.5, and FL.1.5.1.

The number of COVID cases is rising nationwide. Hospitalizations have more than doubled over the last three months, according to CDC data.

Paul Offit, MD, who serves on the FDA’s expert panel that reviews the vaccine companies’ data, predicts that the CDC will make anyone over six months old eligible for the new booster, as they did last year.

However, Offit believes it is more urgent for members of vulnerable groups to get the new vaccine, including people who are over 75, pregnant, or immunocompromised.

“The goal is to prevent severe disease. So the question is, who is getting hospitalized and killed by this disease?” Offit told The Daily Beast.

Offit also believes that if the CDC makes the same eligibility recommendation as last year, they need to make a “compelling case” for people to get vaccinated in order to increase uptake.

The majority of Americans did not receive the last booster, a report by the Covid States Project found last year.

The Biden administration ended the COVID “national emergency” in May 2023, meaning that this latest round of boosters is not subsidized by the federal government. The cost of the new booster will be determined by individual insurance companies and employers. For those without insurance or government assistance, a single dose could cost over $100.

However, free shots will still be available from community health centers and state health departments.

Read more at The Daily Beast.

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