Which boosters are available and who can get them?
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends getting an omicron-specific booster, which targets the original strain of the coronavirus as well as the variants that are currently circulating and are expected to continue circulating into the fall (BA.4 and BA.5). The original vaccines, called monovalent vaccines, will no longer be available as booster doses for people 5 years of age and older.
For immunocompromised children 11 and younger, the CDC has specific recommendations.
It’s safe and effective to choose which vaccine you receive as a booster, either Pfizer or Moderna, regardless of which initial vaccines you received. Note that the Novavax booster can only be used as a first booster shot; if you’ve already gotten one or several COVID-19 boosters, you cannot receive a Novavax booster. Health officials have discouraged people from receiving an initial J&J vaccine or booster due to a rare but serious blood clotting disorder.
Pharmacies, health departments, clinics and other locations: Shots and boosters are being administered at retail pharmacies and facilities affiliated with the Kentucky Department for Public Health (call the department at 855-598-2246 toll-free if you need help finding and making an appointment), certain federally qualified health centers, local clinics and other locations, such as doctor’s offices.
Use the federal government’s vaccine website Vaccines.gov to search for vaccination sites by zip code. Get the same information by texting your zip code to 438829 or by calling 800-232-0233. You can also check with your primary physician’s office to see if COVID-19 vaccinations are being offered. If you are a veteran, the Department of Veterans Affairs is offering COVID-19 vaccinations at VA facilities. Sign up online or call 800-827-1000 to make an appointment.
Some vaccination sites ask for proof of identity or eligibility. Bring a driver’s license or other state-issued ID that shows your name, age and state residency, along with your health insurance card, if you have one. You won’t be charged for the initial vaccine series, or a booster shot, but the vaccine provider may bill your insurer a fee for administering the vaccine. After your first shot, bring your vaccine card for subsequent shots.
Most residents and staff of Kentucky’s long-term care facilities were offered first and second doses through a federal program that provided free on-site vaccinations in late 2020 and early 2021. The program has ended, but the federal government continues to allocate COVID-19 vaccines and boosters to pharmacies that are partnered with long-term care facilities to provide vaccinations, mainly on-site.
Facilities that don’t have a pharmacy partner are encouraged to work with local or state health departments — or the federal government, if need be — to provide vaccinations.
You should not have any out-of-pocket cost for getting the vaccine or a booster. AARP fought to make sure the federal government is covering the cost of the vaccine itself.
Scammers are purporting to offer COVID vaccines and treatments and trying to charge for them. AARP's Fraud Watch Network is tracking the latest scams.
You should get a small white card at your vaccination appointment with your name, birth date, name of the vaccine you received and the date it was administered. If you receive the Pfizer, Moderna or Novavax vaccine, bring your card when you get your second shot.
You may need your vaccine card to schedule a third vaccine dose, for certain immunocompromised people, or a booster shot. You may also need it for certain kinds of travel or other activities, so keep it in a safe place. You can take a photo of it with your smartphone for your own records. Experts say that posting a photo of your card to social media could make you vulnerable to identity theft.
If you’ve lost your vaccine card, call the site where you were vaccinated to request a new one or a copy of your vaccination record. You can also contact your state health department to request a replacement card or a copy of your record.
All vaccines reduce the risk of COVID-19 infections and are highly effective at preventing severe illness and death from the disease. But no vaccine is 100 percent effective, and infections can still occur post-vaccination.
Editor's note: This guide was updated on Oct. 20, 2022, with new information about the approval of Novavax boosters.
Also of Interest:
This story is provided by AARP Kentucky. Visit the AARP Kentucky page for more news, events, and programs affecting retirement, health care, and more.
Friday, Dec 9, 2022 at 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time
Monday, Dec 12, 2022 at 7:00 p.m. Eastern Time
Tuesday, Dec 13, 2022 at 4:00 p.m. Eastern Time
JOIN FOR JUST $16 A YEAR