Sep 14, 2023 - News

Updated COVID-19 vaccines set to come to Minnesota

Data: CDC. Chart: Axios Visuals

Updated COVID-19 vaccines meant to target more recent strains of the virus will soon hit arms in Minnesota.

Driving the news: A new CDC recommendation that updated COVID-19 vaccines from Pfizer and Moderna be given to anyone ages 6 months and older clears the way for reformulated shots to be available later this week.

Why it matters: Amid a months-long uptick in cases, the Biden administration is facing pressure to make the updated vaccines available to help stave off a repeat of last year's "tripledemic" of respiratory diseases, Axios' Adriel Bettelheim writes.

What we're watching: It's unclear how many residents will actually seek out the new shots. Demand has waned since early in the pandemic, with just 30% of Minnesotans considered "up to date" on their COVID-19 vaccinations as of the end of July, per the CDC.

  • As the chart above shows, the share drops for younger age cohorts.

Between the lines: Even if they haven't had the most recent shots, most people have some level of immunity via exposure to infection or earlier versions of the vaccines.

  • Many public health experts still suggest getting the new shot to boost protection against more serious illness heading into the fall.

Of note: While most health insurance plans cover recommended vaccines at no cost, the federal government no longer guarantees that the shots will be free.

  • The Minnesota Department of Health recommends checking with health insurers before scheduling an appointment to avoid a surprise bill.

Be smart: People without health insurance who are looking for a free or low-cost option can contact a Community Health Center, visit Vaccines.gov, or call MDH's COVID-19 hotline at 1-833-431-2053.

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