The Updated Covid Vaccine and Why Teens Need It

On Tuesday, September 12, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) released recommendations for the updated COVID-19 vaccine, encouraging everyone 6 months and older to get the vaccine.1,2

The importance of an updated COVID-19 vaccine

Just like the flu vaccine changes every year to match the changes in the influenza virus, the COVID-19 vaccines are routinely updated to offer better protection against new strains. The newly approved Pfizer and Moderna vaccines target the Omicron variant and its related subvariants like XBB. 1.5, which are responsible for the recent uptick in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations.3

Why do adolescents and young adults need the vaccine?

As protection from the vaccine wanes over time, experts recommend that anyone eligible get the updated vaccine, which includes adolescents and young adults. With teens back in school and the start of the fall/winter respiratory virus season on the horizon, they are at increased risk of developing COVID-19, especially if they have not received the vaccine. Likewise, while teens may not be as likely to experience severe illness from COVID-19, they are still susceptible to Long COVID and could experience symptoms like fatigue, cognitive issues, and heart palpitations.4

Remember, getting vaccinated is about more than just your health. It’s also about protecting those who are unable to get the vaccine. By getting vaccinated, adolescents and young adults are protecting their health as well as decreasing the risk of spreading the disease to others if they do get infected. And of course, staying healthy means teens can spend more time doing what they love.

When and where can you get the vaccine?

If you received a COVID-19 vaccine at least two months ago, you can get the updated vaccine, especially if you are considered high-risk. For those considered low-risk, experts say it’s okay to wait 3-6 months.3 But it’s important to keep in mind we cannot predict when the next wave of COVID-19 might hit, and it will take about two weeks after receiving the vaccine before you get the immunity boost. So, if you put off getting vaccinated, you could end up unprotected when you need it most.

The updated COVID-19 vaccines should be available at your doctor’s office and local pharmacies now. We encourage you to get your flu vaccine and updated COVID-19 vaccine in the same visit as it is safe and effective to receive both at the same time. Most insurance plans will cover the cost of the new COVID-19 vaccine, and different programs like the Bridge Access Program and Vaccines for Children are available to cover the cost for those whose plans do not offer coverage or are uninsured.1

For more information on the updated vaccines and guidelines, we recommend talking to your healthcare provider or visiting the CDC website.


  1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2023b, September 12). CDC recommends updated COVID-19 vaccine for Fall/Winter Virus season. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
  2. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2023c, September 13). ACIP vaccine recommendations. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
  3. Godoy, M., Stein, R., & Greenhalgh, J. (2023, September 13). The new covid boosters are coming: Here’s what you need to know. NPR.
  4. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2023a, July 20). Long Covid or post-covid conditions. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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Unity Consortium

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