COVID Update: What You Need to Know

As the pandemic enters its fifth year, staying informed about the latest developments with the disease, including new variants and treatments, remains especially important for older adults, who are most at risk for severe illness and death from COVID-19. ​

Here’s a summary of recent coronavirus news that’s particularly relevant to people 50 and older, followed by answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about COVID-19.

Latest COVID-19 news

Adults 65-plus should get a spring COVID-19 vaccine (Feb. 29). The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is recommending that adults 65 and older roll up their sleeves this spring for another dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. More than half of COVID-19 hospitalizations during October 2023 to December 2023 occurred in this age group, and deaths continue to remain highest among older adults. “An additional vaccine dose can provide added protection that may have decreased over time for those at highest risk,” CDC Director Mandy Cohen, M.D., said in a statement.

Latest COVID shot is 54 percent effective at preventing symptoms (Feb. 2). The most recently updated COVID-19 vaccines, which became available in the U.S. in September, are 54 percent effective at preventing symptoms of a coronavirus infection, a new report from the CDC finds. The researchers, who studied a population of about 9,000 adults, found the shots also provide protection against JN.1, which is now the dominant variant of the virus, causing about 93 percent of COVID cases in the U.S.

Americans can once again order free COVID tests from the government (Nov. 21). Each U.S. household can again order four at-home COVID-19 tests from the website, free of charge. Shipping for the rapid tests is also free. If you didn’t order four tests earlier in the fall when the program reopened, you are eligible to order eight tests, total.

Novavax’s updated vaccine gets green light from FDA (Oct. 4). The Food and Drug Administration authorized Novavax’s updated COVID-19 vaccine on Oct. 3 for people 12 and older. Similar to the revised vaccines from Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna, Novavax’s protein-based vaccine targets XBB.1.5, a more recent version of the coronavirus. The company said in a news release that the new shot will be available in thousands of locations across the U.S. 

New COVID-19 vaccines get the green light (Sept. 12). A new batch of COVID-19 vaccines that are a closer match to the coronavirus variants that are currently circulating throughout the U.S. have been approved and recommended by health officials, and are now available in pharmacies and doctors’ offices across the country. The shots, from Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech, target the XBB.1.5 strain of omicron. While this particular variant is no longer driving the majority of the country’s infections, its relatives are, and experts say the vaccines should provide good protection against them. It’s recommended that individuals 6 months and older get the new vaccine. Uninsured and underinsured individuals will be able to receive the vaccines for free under the CDC’s new bridge access program.


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Written by Ethiotime1

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