(BPT) - While COVID-19 activity is still below the levels seen last year at this time, COVID-19 hospitalizations are rising quickly. There is still time to get yourself and your loved ones vaccinated. Getting an updated COVID-19 vaccine is the best way to stay protected against serious illness from COVID-19. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that everyone 6 months and older stay up to date with COVID-19 vaccination. Vaccination also lowers your risk of getting long COVID — a wide range of health problems that can last weeks, months or even years after COVID-19 infection.
Most adults can get a free updated COVID-19 vaccine through their private health insurance, Medicare or Medicaid plans. However, some health insurance plans don’t fully cover the cost of a COVID-19 vaccine, and an estimated 25-30 million people living in the U.S. don’t have health insurance. To address this concern, CDC’s Bridge Access Program is offering adults who are uninsured or whose insurance doesn't fully cover COVID-19 vaccination a free, updated COVID-19 vaccine. This program will end by Dec. 31, 2024. To date, more than a million COVID-19 vaccine doses have been provided through the program.
Bridge Access Program
There is no enrollment process or application to qualify, and you don’t need to provide identification or proof of insurance to get a vaccine through the Bridge Access Program. If you are 18 years or older and don’t have health insurance, or your plan doesn’t fully cover an updated COVID-19 vaccine, the Bridge Access Program can provide one for free at participating CVS, Walgreens and eTrueNorth-partnering pharmacies, local health centers and health providers.
How to find a vaccine through the Bridge Access Program
Follow these steps to find pharmacies and health care providers participating in the Bridge Access Program near you:
When you find a convenient location, call ahead to confirm that they can provide you with a free updated COVID-19 vaccine through the Bridge Access Program. If you can’t find a participating pharmacy or provider near you, check back later because new locations are still being added.
Why get vaccinated now?
Viruses constantly change through mutation and sometimes these mutations result in a new strain (or variant) of the virus. It’s important to know that the updated COVID-19 vaccines offer protection against the variants spreading throughout our communities right now.
The cold winter months are a time when people spend more time in crowded indoor settings, where respiratory viruses, including COVID-19, may be more readily transmitted. Getting an updated COVID-19 vaccine will help protect you from serious illness.
Don’t let cost stop you from getting an updated COVID-19 vaccine this year. Free COVID-19 vaccines are still available. If you are uninsured or your plan won’t fully cover it, visit Vaccines.gov today to find a Bridge Access Program provider near you.