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Baltimore City Health Department gets first supply of updated COVID shots for kids

Baltimore City Health Department gets first supply of updated COVID shots for kids

The Baltimore City Health Department has received its first supply of the updated COVID-19 vaccine for children, and will offer it for free to those whose families don’t have health insurance or whose health insurance doesn’t cover the cost of the shot.

The health department’s announcement Thursday came about two weeks after it received its first supply of the new monovalent vaccine for adults. It received both shipments from the federal government’s Bridge Access Program, which provides shots at no-cost to the 25 to 30 million adults in America without health insurance.

Children and adults who are eligible to receive the vaccine for free can get the shot on Fridays during most October and November walk-in hours at the city health department’s immunization clinic at 1200 E. Fayette St. from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

The new shot was developed to protect against the omicron variant of the virus, XBB.1.5, but studies have indicated it also protects against the widely circulating “Eris” variant.

“COVID infections and hospitalizations are on the rise, risking the health and wellness of Baltimore’s children and adults alike,” Acting Baltimore Health Commissioner Mary Beth Haller said in the release. “That is why the CDC strongly recommends that everyone aged 6 months or older get the new vaccine.”

While the first vaccines offered in the country played an important role in strengthening people’s immune systems, over time, that immunity has waned, the health department said in the release.

Getting vaccinated this season is important because COVID remains one of America’s leading causes of death. Those who haven’t gotten inoculated have a greater chance of getting COVID and spreading it to loved ones, as well as being hospitalized or dying. They also have a greater chance of developing long COVID, which can last for years.

Many pharmacies already have both vaccines, and most insurance plans offer the new vaccines for free. CVS and Walgreens each offer the updated shot to those who don’t have insurance.

View the city health department clinic’s schedule at tinyurl.com/2tn2k6cv or schedule an in-home appointment with the health department’s Homebound Vaccination Program by calling 443-984-8650.