Updated COVID-19 vaccine hit Alaska next week — here’s what you need to know

The updated Covid-19 Vaccine hits Alaska next week- here's what you need to know
Published: Sep. 15, 2023 at 3:47 PM AKDT
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - The new COVID-19 vaccine will be available in Alaska next week, according to Dr. Joe McLaughlin, State Epidemiologist and Chief of the Alaska Section of Epidemiology at the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services.

“The Pfizer vaccine will be available for all ages next week and then the Moderna vaccine will be available for everyone ages 12 and up next week,” McLaughlin said.

Initially, only adults will be eligible to receive the new vaccine.

“We don’t yet know when the pediatric dosage for the Moderna vaccine will be available, but we expect it will be soon,” McLaughlin said.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends everyone over the age of six months get the update vaccine — which is typically covered by public and private insurance plans.

“That’s a new recommendation that has just come out nationally,” McLaughlin said. “And we know that the effectiveness of the vaccine is typically highest during the the first three months after vaccination.”

According to the CDC, children between six months and four years of age getting their first COVID-19 vaccine should get two doses of Moderna or three doses of Pfizer, with at least one being an updated shot. Additionally, the CDC says those who are immunocompromised should be up-to-date with at least three doses of COVID-19 vaccine, with at least one dose being the updated vaccine.

“Over time, this virus will likely start to follow more of a seasonal pattern like we see with influenza and RSV,” McLaughlin said.

The new shots contain a single strain of the virus, unlike last year’s shots which contained two strains. According to the CDC, vaccination remains the best protection against COVID-19-related hospitalization and death.