The Johnson & Johnson vaccine is no longer available in the U.S.
Vaccines are administered at retail pharmacies, including Walgreens, Rite Aid and CVS, 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 check with your primary care physician’s office to see if COVID-19 vaccinations are offered. If you are a veteran, the Department of Veterans Affairs offers COVID-19 vaccinations at VA facilities. Sign up online or call 800-827-1000 to make an appointment.
More information about COVID-19 vaccines also is available at the Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services' website. Or you can call 406-444-5622.
The federal government is no longer covering the cost of the vaccines, but most people with Medicare, Medicaid or private insurance will not have to pay.
The CDC’s Bridge Access Program will temporarily provide free vaccines to adults who either do not have health insurance or whose health insurance does not cover the cost of the vaccine.
Be aware that scammers often purport to offer COVID vaccines and treatments and try to charge for them. AARP's Fraud Watch Network is tracking the latest scams.
It’s safe and effective to receive an updated Pfizer or Moderna vaccine at least two months after your last dose — no matter which brand you’ve received in the past, including Johnson & Johnson.
The Novavax booster can only be used as a first booster shot for people 18 and older.
The updated vaccines only target one strain of the omicron variant, called XBB.1.5, and are recommended by the CDC to protect against more recently circulating strains of the virus. The bivalent boosters targeted the original strain of the virus and two omicron subvariants, BA. 4 and BA.5.
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 and vaccination cards, if you have them.
If you’ve lost your vaccine card, you can 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.
According to the CDC, it is safe to receive the flu and updated COVID-19 vaccines simultaneously, although you are a little more likely to experience side effects, such as a headache and fatigue. Adults 60 or older who qualify for the RSV vaccine may also receive that at the same time as the others, but some health experts suggest spacing them out. Contact your health care provider for more information.
The federal government allocates 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.
All vaccines reduce the risk of COVID-19 infections and are highly effective at preventing severe illness and death from the disease. No vaccine is 100 percent effective, and infections can still occur postvaccination.
This guide was updated on Sept. 27, 2023, with new CDC recommendations.
This story is provided by AARP Montana. Visit the AARP Montana page for more news, events, and programs affecting retirement, health care, and more.
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