The Long Beach Department of Health and Human Services will only offer coronavirus vaccines to uninsured and underinsured people at its city-run clinics, according to a recent announcement, in an effort to ensure low-income residents have a equitable access to the vaccine.
Although COVID-19 vaccines are covered by most private health insurance plans, there are approximately 25 to 30 million uninsured adults in the United States who may not be able to pay the cost of the vaccine out of pocket. said the city. in a press release.
“Ensuring that (the) vaccine is accessible to all is important to the health and well-being of our entire community,” Mayor Rex Richardson said in the announcement. “Dedicating city-run vaccination clinics to support those who are underserved will help increase people’s access to the vaccine, which in turn will help prevent serious illness and hospitalizations.”
The latest COVID-19 vaccine will be available free of charge at health department clinics to people ages 12 and older who are uninsured or underinsured, effective immediately, the city said. The vaccine will be free for children six months and older starting Wednesday, September 27.
“Insured residents are encouraged to obtain the updated COVID-19 vaccine through their healthcare providers or local pharmacies,” the city said, “such as CVS, Albertsons, Walgreens, Vons and Pavilions, which will offer the updated monovalent vaccine ”.
City Health Officer Dr. Anissa Davis said it’s important for residents to consider getting the latest COVID-19 vaccine, along with the flu vaccine, to protect themselves from serious illnesses this coming fall and winter. , which is when respiratory diseases tend to circulate more frequently. .
Meanwhile, Long Beach clinics will offer an updated version of the mRNA COVID-19 vaccine, which was approved for emergency use by the Food and Drug Administration in early September. The new vaccine includes an additional monovalent component, according to the FDA, that specifically targets the XBB.1.5 omicron variant and helps prevent illness, hospitalizations and deaths.
“It is critically important to receive the updated COVID-19 vaccine this fall to protect against serious illness and hospitalizations,” Davis said in last week’s news release. “Vaccines are one of the most important ways to combat COVID-19, especially with the continued development of new variants.”
Meanwhile, the recommended vaccine schedule varies by age. People five years old and older, for example, should receive one dose of the updated COVID-19 vaccine, the city said, while immunocompromised adults are recommended to receive a three-dose vaccine series with at least one dose of the updated inoculation.
More information about vaccine recommendations and Long Beach’s clinical schedule is available at longbeach.gov/vax.