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What do you need to know about the new COVID vaccine?

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The new updated COVID-19 vaccine is designed to protect against the Omicron variant and its subvariants. It is a bivalent vaccine, meaning that it contains two different strains of the virus: the original strain and the Omicron variant.

The new vaccine was approved by the FDA on September 12, 2023, and recommended by the CDC on September 13, 2023. It is available to everyone aged 6 months and older.

The new vaccine is given as a single dose, and it is recommended that everyone get boosted with it, even if they have already received a booster shot of the original vaccine. This is because the new vaccine is more effective at protecting against the Omicron variant and its subvariants.

The new vaccine is safe and effective. It was tested in clinical trials with thousands of participants, and it was shown to be safe and effective at preventing serious illness, hospitalization, and death from COVID-19.

Receiving the new vaccine is especially critical for people who are at high risk of serious illness from COVID-19, such as older adults and people with underlying medical conditions.

The new vaccine is available at pharmacies, doctor's offices, and other vaccination sites across the United States. It is free to everyone, regardless of insurance status.

You can get the new COVID-19 vaccine at the same time as you get other vaccines, such as the flu shot or the pneumonia vaccine.

The most common side effects of the new COVID-19 vaccine are mild and go away on their own within a few days. These side effects may include pain, redness, and swelling at the injection site, as well as fatigue, headache, muscle pain, chills, and fever.

Dr. Jason Bowling is a professor and infectious disease specialist at UT Health San Antonio, and chief epidemiologist at University Health.

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This interview will be recorded on September 18, 2023.

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David Martin Davies can be reached at dmdavies@tpr.org and on Twitter at @DavidMartinDavi