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COVID-19: Bivalent Vaccine Recommendation, HHS Uninsured Program

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced April 19 that adults ages 65 years and older and those who are immunocompromised now are eligible for an additional bivalent COVID-19 vaccine dose.

The agency no longer recommends monovalent original mRNA COVID-19 vaccines for use in the United States and recommends everyone 6 years of age and older receive a bivalent vaccine, regardless of whether they previously completed their monovalent primary series.

The CDC’s announcement decision comes after the Food and Drug Administration amended the emergency use authorizations of the Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 bivalent vaccines on April 18 to allow individuals ages 65 and older who have received a single dose of a bivalent vaccine to receive one additional dose.

The agency noted that alternatives to mRNA COVID-19 vaccines, including Novavax or Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen vaccines, remain available for people who cannot or choose not to receive an mRNA vaccine.

New HHS Program to Maintain COVID-19 Care for Uninsured

The Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) announced a new program on April 18 that will ensure uninsured Americans have continued access to COVID-19 care after the public health emergency ends on May 11.

The HHS Bridge Access Program for COVID-19 Vaccines and Treatments Program creates a $1.1 billion public-private partnership to help uninsured patients access COVID-19 vaccines and treatment with no out-of-pocket costs.

The program will support vaccination and treatment at local health departments and Health Resources and Services Administration–supported health centers. Additionally, the program will create a per-dose payment partnership with pharmacy chains that will allow them to continue offering free COVID-19 vaccinations and treatments to the uninsured through their network or retail locations.

HHS has identified limited existing COVID-19 supplemental funds that can support this program through December 2024.

Visit the America’s Essential Hospitals coronavirus resource page for more information about the pandemic.

Contact Senior Director of Policy Erin O’Malley at eomalley@essentialhospitals.org or 202.585.0127 with questions.

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