Illinois is set to receive 580,000 doses of a new updated COVID-19 booster after two variations of the shot were approved Wednesday, according to the state health department. As a result, some pharmacy chains are requiring customers to reschedule booster appointments.
The Food and Drug Administration approved on Wednesday a new version of the Pfizer and Moderna shots, which target the dominant omicron variant.
At this point, the exact amount of doses each county will get, along with the schedule for distributing them has not yet been determined, Illinois Public Information Officer Mike Claffey said Wednesday. He said the state expects to receive the doses within the next week or so, and distribution should start soon after.
“We are strongly encouraging everyone who has been fully vaccinated for at least two months to contact their healthcare provider or health department and to get this new booster, which is considered to be very effective,” Claffey said.
Until now, COVID-19 vaccines have targeted the original coronavirus strain, even as different mutants have emerged. The new U.S. boosters are combination, or “bivalent,” shots. They contain half that original vaccine recipe and half protection against the newest omicron versions, called BA.4 and BA.5, which are considered the most contagious yet.
The combination aims to increase cross-protection against multiple variants and blunt a winter surge in cases.
On the vaccination section of the CVS.com, the pharmacy chain said that appointments to get boosters made before the FDA authorization must be canceled. Appointments must be rescheduled through the website or the CVS app.
The chain said it is waiting on approval of the updated booster by Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, also called the ACIP, before inventory can arrive in stores. It expects stores will receive vaccines on a rolling basis over the next few days.
CVS has stores in more than 200 Illinois towns and cities.
Mariana Guerrero of Montgomery said she plans to get the updated COVID-19 booster shot when it’s available. Working as a library assistant, the community spread of the virus is contributing to her decision, she said.
“[It’s] just to be safe for little ones,” Guerrero said. “I’m a little bit concerned with the rise in the numbers and all the kids going back to school.”
Laura Breshingham of Oswego, meanwhile, said she is motivated to get the updated COVID-19 booster shot.
“I travel quite a bit,” Breshingham said. “The more protected you can get, the better.”
Breshingham said the fact that the booster shot has been updated doesn’t deter her interest in wanting to get vaccinated, adding she’s never experienced hesitancy with respect to the COVID-19 vaccines.
The Associated Press, Aimee Barrows and Troy Taylor contributed to this report.
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