The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) now advises that the latest COVID-19 vaccine, developed for the 2023–2024 season, be administered to individuals aged six months or older. While the vaccine is highly recommended for all individuals, it is particularly important for those who are at the highest risk of experiencing severe complications from the virus. This includes older adults, individuals with compromised immune systems and chronic medical conditions such as diabetes and heart disease, as well as young children.
Even if you are young and in good health, it is still worth considering getting the vaccine, especially if you live with someone in a high-risk category or want to reduce your own risk of contracting COVID-19.
The COVID-19 vaccine poses minimal to no harm and offers protection against the virus. For the majority of the population, the risks associated with the vaccine are considerably lower than the risks of contracting COVID-19 itself. Although the vaccine may not prevent all cases of COVID-19, the latest vaccines have been specifically designed to reduce the likelihood of hospitalizations, severe illness, and death caused by the virus.
It is important to note that even if you have had COVID-19 before or have received previous vaccinations, it is still recommended to get the updated COVID-19 vaccine. Over time, immunity from previous vaccines or infections decreases, and new variants of the virus can evade the antibodies formed in response to previous versions of the vaccine. By receiving the updated vaccine, you can protect yourself against the current circulating strains.
The 2023–2024 COVID-19 vaccines developed by Moderna and Pfizer target a different strain of the virus compared to the original vaccine. This is similar to influenza vaccines, which are updated annually to protect against new circulating strains of the flu.
The updated COVID-19 vaccine specifically targets the XBB.1.5 strain, which has been prevalent in the United States and other parts of the world since the beginning of 2023. The World Health Organization has identified the XBB.1.5 strain as the most transmissible omicron variant discovered so far.
It is important to emphasize that the updated 2023–2024 COVID-19 vaccine is currently the only COVID-19 vaccine available. With the approval of the new vaccine, previous versions have lost their authorization.
In addition to vaccination, there are other measures you can take to protect yourself from COVID-19. Ensuring an adequate amount of sleep and exercise is important, and it is advisable to avoid highly crowded indoor spaces. Wearing a mask in situations where it is difficult to maintain social distancing is also recommended. If you become ill, it is crucial to wear a mask to protect those around you and to stay home in order to prevent exposing others in your workplace or community.
It is worth noting that the COVID-19 vaccine and the influenza vaccine can be administered simultaneously. However, it is important to remember that without testing, it is not possible to differentiate between symptoms of the flu, common cold, respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), and COVID-19.
1. Source: Coherent Market Insights, Public sources, Desk research
2. We have leveraged AI tools to mine information and compile it