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Where to find the new COVID-19 vaccine

Although shipments of the latest COVID-19 vaccines began arriving at Southern California pharmacies and clinics last week, Kaiser Permanente members will have to wait a little longer to get their shots from the healthcare provider .

Kaiser Permanente, which serves more than 9 million Californians, is not yet offering its members the latest booster — formulated to target the virus strains that health officials say will be dominant this fall. Kaiser said it plans to begin administering the updated vaccines across the region by September 28.

In the meantime, Californians insured by Kaiser can go to another pharmacy to get vaccinated, but they must be prepared to pay high fees.

Pharmacies, including CVS and Walgreens, began receiving the updated vaccine last week. The vaccine is available free at pharmacies through most insurance plans. But pharmacists at several CVS locations in Los Angeles said Wednesday that Kaiser members wouldn’t be able to get vaccinated at the pharmacy if they wanted them to be covered by insurance.

CVS pharmacists said the recall will cost a little more than $190 for those paying out of pocket. Pharmacists at Walgreens said people insured with Kaiser would have to pay about $155 out of pocket.

Nancy Gin, Kaiser regional medical director of quality and clinical analytics for Southern California, said that in years past, Kaiser members could get their COVID-19 vaccines anywhere because they were covered by the federal government. But after the COVID-19 national public health emergency ended in May, many Kaiser members were no longer eligible for free shots at non-Kaiser Permanente sites. Kaiser members will be able to get vaccinated free of charge at Kaiser facilities.

People insured with other major health insurance providers should be able to get their booster shots covered at CVS and Walgreens, pharmacists at both drugstore chains said.

CVS pharmacies began receiving the updated vaccine on Sept. 13, according to a company spokesperson. People can use the company’s service digital planner to see if their pharmacy received their delivery.

Walgreens also offers the new vaccines nationwide. Appointments can be scheduled immediately online or by calling (800) WALGREENS.

The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health said it was waiting for doses to arrive, but expected to begin administering the vaccine in the coming days.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that everyone over 6 months of age receive a newly updated COVID-19 vaccination in addition to their annual flu vaccine.

CVS and Walgreens also participate in CDC temporary program Bridge Access Programwhich offers free vaccinations to uninsured and underinsured adults through the end of 2024. Participating providers can be found at vaccines.gov. Another federal program, Vaccines for Children, offers free vaccinations to eligible children.

Federal health officials recommend that people ages 5 and older receive a single dose of the updated vaccine, as long as two months have passed since their last dose. Previously vaccinated babies and young children – ages 6 months to 4 years – may receive one or two doses of vaccine, depending on the brand of vaccine they previously received.

Times Staff Writer Emily Alpert Reyes contributed to this report.

Los Angeles Times

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