MINNEAPOLIS — For the first time, vaccines for all three major respiratory viruses - COVID, RSV and the flu - are available this fall. But the latest COVID shot, which was approved just two weeks ago, is still rolling out.
"So some of the shipments are coming out. You know, they may not be at your pharmacy or at your clinic immediately. But that is something that we can keep you getting over the next few weeks to a month," said Dr. George Morris, medical director of wellness at CentraCare.
"We just don't have the vaccine yet. So it's not hidden away, we just don't have it anywhere in our pharmacies yet to be able to get it out. And so across the metro, really people are waiting for that vaccine to arrive in order to be able to give it and so we're anticipating that that should start to come in over the next week or so," said Dr. Kate Hurst, a primary care physician at Hennepin Healthcare.
In the meantime, people looking for any shot to protect against COVID - old or new - have to wait.
"We were using what we were calling the bivalent booster, it was something designed to improve upon the original COVID-19 vaccines that we received. When this new vaccine was approved. It took the place of that bivalent booster and so we stopped using it because the approval with the new one kind of takes away the old approval," Hurst explained.
Once supply catches up with demand, doctors are encouraging anyone 6 months and older to get the updated shot, but especially those in high risk groups including seniors, the immunocompromised, people who are pregnant, and children.
"Getting the vaccine is just one more tool to make sure that your body is best equipped to fight that virus off without having significant side effects either acutely, and hopefully to decrease any risk for long COVID in the future as well," said Hurst.
The Minnesota Department of Health says, for the first time, you may have to pay to get a COVID vaccine.
Minnesotans with health insurance are encouraged to speak with their provider and check their coverage before scheduling a vaccine appointment.
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