Should you get the new COVID vaccine? What you need to know

As COVID continues to remain a part of our daily lives, medical experts at Columbus Regional Health recommend that anyone age 5 years and older receives the 2023–2024 updated COVID-19 vaccine to protect against serious illness. 

About the vaccine: The new COVID vaccine is currently offered by Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, or Novavax. It is an MRNA vaccine – meaning it is the same type of vaccine that has always been offered; however, it is a new formula that is geared more toward helping the body learn and prepare for the most prevalent strain circulating at this time. This current strain is predicted to continue through the fall and winter months. The new vaccine is derived from an Omicron sub-variant.  It is not a booster because booster shots increase current immunity from previous vaccines, whereas updated vaccines provide protection against currently circulating variants, helping the body build a new response to those variants. The former vaccines, bivalent, boosters, etc. are no longer available. 

The current vaccine is safe and effective, and was run through rigorous and thorough safety standards. Those who receive the vaccine can anticipate the same potential side effects as other vaccines, soreness at the injection spot and a potential for mild symptoms or fatigue. In addition, CRH also recommends that patients receive their flu vaccine, which is also available through your provider. These vaccines are engineered to prevent serious illness; however they may not always prevent infection. Those who have had a vaccine that still get ill from the virus can anticipate much milder, shorter symptoms.

Both the influenza and COVID vaccines remain available at low or no cost for most people with health insurance. Those without insurance may have access for a free vaccine through the Bridge Access or Vaccines for Children governmental programs. Visit for an updated list of locations currently offering the vaccine. Columbus Regional Health Physicians is also pleased to offer both vaccines. Contact your provider to make an appointment. Don’t have a provider? Contact WellConnect at 812-376-5136 and one of our Connection Specialists will be happy to assist you. 

Kelsey DeClue
Public Relations Communications Partner
Columbus Regional Health

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