What You Need to Know About the New COVID-19 Vaccine


Jason Sellers, MD

In our new world of ever-changing COVID-19 recommendations and protocols, it looks like we may have a new normal, in regards to COVID-19 vaccines at least. This year the recommendation is simple: get your updated COVID-19 vaccine!

Since we’ve been living in the pandemic age, there have been three iterations of the COVID-19 mRNA vaccines: the original ones released in late 2020, the bivalent boosters released last fall, and now the new updated COVID-19 vaccine for fall 2023.

The original vaccines protected against the early versions of the virus, whereas the bivalent boosters last year protected against both the original strains as well as the newer Omicron strains of the virus. Things got complicated as we navigated the first and second doses of the original series, the first booster, and then the bivalent booster.

This year it’s much simpler: there is a new COVID-19 vaccine, and the rest of them are obsolete. Moving forward, getting your COVID-19 vaccine will probably look very similar to getting your yearly flu shot, adjusted each year for the latest variants.

To be up to date, you simply have to get one dose of the new Pfizer or Moderna vaccine. For those who have had COVID-19 recently, you can get the vaccine once you are outside of the isolation period, or you can wait up to 3 months since you have some temporary immunity. If you are immune compromised, you may qualify for additional doses.

Why get the new vaccine? There are a few reasons:

  1. It helps protect against the current circulating strain of COVID-19, the XBB lineage of Omicron. This may make the difference from having to cancel your holiday plans or not!
  2. It helps protect against severe disease. Especially for those over 65 years old, immunity from previous vaccines has waned. Getting the updated vaccine will boost your immune system and help prevent the possibility of being hospitalized with COVID-19.
  3. It helps prevent long COVID. Even for younger people, COVID-19 symptoms can stick around and contribute to chronic health issues. Vaccination helps prevent the possibility that COVID-19 infection will lead to long-lasting effects.

Should you get your COVID-19 vaccine and flu shot together? Yes! If both are offered, then the recommendation is to get them together so you will be fully protected for this cold and flu season. If you are over the age of 60, consider talking with your doctor to decide whether it also makes sense to get an RSV vaccine.

It may seem like we’re in a vaccine frenzy, but the reality is that vaccines can help prevent serious illness and even death – for both yourself and the people you cherish around you. Don’t hesitate to chat with your Radish doctor if you have any questions or hesitations before you get the jab. From Radish we wish you all a safe and healthy fall season!

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