Kaiser says new COVID-19 booster shots coming as early as this week

Comirnaty, the new Pfizer/BioNTech vaccination booster for COVID-19, in stock at the Baldwin Park CVS store on New Broad Street in Orlando, Florida, Friday, Sept. 15, 2023. 19 booster, recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for everyone ages 6 months and older. (Joe Burbank/Orlando Sentinel via AP)

A new COVID-19 booster vaccine approved in mid-September has not yet reached Kaiser Permanente facilities, but that should change soon.

The Oakland-based health care provider said Friday afternoon that booster shots will come online on Monday, Sept. 25. An email sent to Kaiser members at 5 p.m. said vaccine appointments for members ages 12 and older will begin Sept. 28.

“Appointments for children under 12 will become available as soon as we receive supply,” the email reads.

Walk-in vaccinations will also be available at select locations, Kaiser wrote, but did not specify where.

“We will begin administering the updated COVID-19 vaccines in most of the areas we serve … and possibly even earlier in some locations,” Kaiser told the Southern California News Group early Friday.

See also: Kaiser’s 75,000 union workers will strike on October 4 if no deal is reached

The FDA approved updated boosters from Moderna and Pfizer/BioNTech on Sept. 11 for people ages 12 and older. Young people can get the shots under an emergency use order.

The latest vaccines are aimed at targeting XBB.1.5 Omicron, a subvariant of COVID, and other closely related strains of the coronavirus.

Some Kaiser members are eager to get their boosters, which will be available for the first time in the fall of 2022.

The lack of availability was highlighted on Twitter where Kaiser members expressed their frustration, noting that their healthcare provider had no boosters and was no longer participating with pharmacies for shots.

User Ben Ross wrote, “I have Kaiser Permanente insurance, but it’s not available with them yet, so I applied at Walgreens.” “Walgreens said I had to get it through Kaiser and wouldn’t even let me pay out of pocket!”

Another Kaiser member was able to get a booster at CVS but he paid $190 for it.

Appointment line operators told at least one Kaiser member that the COVID booster will not be available until late September or early October.

Booster shots and vaccines are free through an insurance provider or through participating pharmacies associated with those healthcare providers. The policy changed when federal funding ran out after pandemic emergency orders were lifted earlier this year.

See also: Huntington Beach wants to declare itself a ‘no mask and no vaccine mandate’ city

Kaiser Drugstore is not part of the booster program and recommends members use the company’s facilities for boosters. The company said the cost is free when using the Kaiser facility.

A federal expert panel recommends everyone over the age of 6 months get the latest booster. Only 17% of the US population received the last booster, compared to about half in 2021 who received the first booster.

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