The facts about updated COVID vaccines

Last Modified: 11/18/2022

COVID booster

This post was coordinated and created by the HHS We Can Do This COVID-19 Public Education campaign with contributions from Scott Stienecker, MD, FACP, FSHEA, FIDSA, CIC, Medical Director Epidemiology and Infection Prevention, Parkview Health.

The updated vaccines have arrived, but surveys are showing that some people don’t know much about them — even though they could make a big difference as cooler weather and growing case numbers abroad signal another possible COVID-19 surge.

“We understand Americans are tired of the pandemic, plain and simple,” said Dr. Scott Stienecker, epidemiologist in Indiana and member of the Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America. “However, the fact is, COVID is still with us. The best way to move forward and enjoy fall activities with peace of mind is to get the facts about the updated vaccines and stay up to date with protection.”

Updated vaccines are among the latest tools for managing COVID. Hundreds of Americans are still dying each day from COVID, and hospitalizations have been rising again in some areas. Maximizing the use of the tools developed in the last two years, including vaccines, can help prevent severe illness, hospitalization, and even death.

Here’s what you need to know about the updated vaccines:

Updated vaccines provide protection against both the original COVID virus and Omicron. The updated vaccines offer you the only targeted protection you can get against the Omicron strains that are infecting people right now, and also offer protection against the original COVID virus.

Anyone age five and older who has finished a primary series is eligible. Once two months have passed since your last dose, whether it was the primary series or a booster, it is time to get an updated vaccine. Your body needs time to build up full protection, so it’s a good idea to get an updated vaccine as soon as possible to have full protection in time for holiday gatherings and ahead of a possible winter surge in cases.

It doesn’t matter which brand. Regardless of which brand of COVID vaccine you got, it is all right to get an updated vaccine from either Pfizer or Moderna."

Updated vaccines are safe and effective. As with other vaccinations, side effects are possible, but they don’t last long. Some people have a sore arm where they got their shot, or even flu-like symptoms for a few days, but these are normal responses to a vaccine."

The updated vaccines are currently widely available and free. Visit to find a vaccination location near you.

For more information and to find a vaccine, visit

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