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Think you can walk into a pharmacy in Bucks County and receive an updated COVID-19 shot now that the newly updated vaccines from Pfizer and Moderna are available? Don't count on it.
With the vaccines in high demand, some pharmacies have run out and appointments are necessary at most locations.
Several local CVS, Rite Aid and Walgreen pharmacies require appointments and some appointments have had to be rescheduled because of the shortages.
The vaccine can be given with this year's influenza vaccine. The pharmacies weren't reporting shortages of the flu shot.
At Mat's Pharmacy in Croydon, a private pharmacy in Lower Bucks, a spokesperson said the pharmacy ordered a supply of the updated COVID vaccines but she noted "we have not received them yet." Another private pharmacy also said it has not received its allocation of the new COVID vaccine as yet.
A Rite Aid pharmacy in Falls Township said they have supply but appointments to get the shot are already booked into late October.
"Our priority is to administer the new COVID-19 vaccine to our communities as quickly and efficiently as possible.... In many stores, supply for the new COVID-19 vaccine is improving," said a company spokesperson. "We encourage customers to check with their local pharmacy for available COVID-19 vaccines or schedule online through our online scheduler at riteaid.com/pharmacy/scheduler."
CVS spokesman Matt Blanchette said its pharmacies "are receiving the updated COVID-19 vaccine on a rolling basis, but we’re experiencing supplier delivery delays. To determine if a specific location has appointments available, customers can utilize our digital scheduler at CVS.com which shows real-time availability."
Is the new variance different than previous vaccines?
The new Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines that were approved by the FDA earlier this month and one in the approval process by Novavax target the XBB.1.15 version of the COVID Omicron variant and related XBB versions that have circulated this year, the CDC states. They replace the earlier bivalent vaccines that targeted the original COVID-19 disease and the subsequent Omicron BA.4 and BA.5 variants. The manufacturers are no longer producing those vaccines.
Persons age 5 and older can get vaccinated with the new vaccine if it's been at least two months since they had a previous COVID vaccine. According to the CDC, most people who have had COVID can wait three months after having the disease to get a vaccine because the disease provides some immunity against repeat infection but those who are moderately or seriously immunocompromised may not want to wait.
For children younger than 5, the scheduling is more complicated. Check out the CDC advisory at https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/stay-up-to-date.html#about-vaccines or contact your child's pediatrician for more information.
This article originally appeared on Bucks County Courier Times: Some Bucks County pharmacies reporting shortage of new COVID-19 shots