Dear USET/USET SPF Family,
This alert is being shared to provide critical information regarding COVID-19 vaccination as a preventative measure for the upcoming fall and winter season. A proactive approach is necessary to protect the health of Tribal communities within our USET region. COVID-19 vaccination helps protect against serious health impacts, such as hospitalization and death. Everyone plays a role to help keep yourself, your family, and your community safe and healthy, especially elders and children. USET TEC recommends seasonal respiratory vaccines early in the fall season once they become available as an effective prevention measure for those who are eligible- including COVID-19, seasonal influenza, and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV).
On September 11, 2023, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently authorized updated mRNA COVID-19 vaccines created to target the most common circulating variants in order to provide increased protection against severe outcomes of COVID-19. The newly authorized mRNA vaccines (Pfizer and Moderna) are monovalent and contain one component that targets the Omicron XBB.1.5 variant. This new formulation is intended to protect against many of the currently circulating variants. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommended this updated COVID-19 Vaccine for everyone 6 months and older.
Who is Eligible?
- Children 6 months to 5 years are eligible for updated COVID-19 vaccines. The number of doses is dependent on previous vaccination history.
- Everyone 6 years and older are eligible for one (1) updated Pfizer or Moderna COVID-19 vaccine, regardless of previous vaccination history.
Updated vaccination recommendations can be found on the CDC website, which are based on age, vaccination history, timing, and other health factors. These updated COVID-19 vaccines should be given at least 2 months after any previous COVID-19 vaccines. These updated vaccines have undergone rigorous safety and efficacy scrutiny and it has been shown that benefits of vaccination greatly outweigh any associated risks. Currently, it is anticipated that COVID-19 vaccination will become an annual vaccine, like seasonal influenza vaccines.
A recent CDC Clinical Outreach and Communication Activity (COCA) Call titled “Preparing for the Upcoming Respiratory Virus Season: Recommendations for Influenza, COVID-19, and RSV Vaccines for Older Adults” is linked here. There is an upcoming question and answer session hosted by National Indian Health Board in collaboration with Indian Health Service on September 28, 2023 at 3 PM CT/ 4 PM ET, registration and additional information can be found here. Beginning September 25, 2023, every U.S. household can again place an order to receive four more free COVID-19 rapid tests delivered directly to their home, please click here to order.
For additional information or for clinical guidance, please see the sources below. The USET TEC is available to assist with any questions or concerns. Please do not hesitate to contact us at email@example.com.
FDA Takes Action on Updated mRNA COVID-19 Vaccines to Better Protect Against Currently Circulating Variants | FDA
Updated COVID-19 Vaccines for Use in the United States Beginning in Fall 2023 | FDA
CDC Recommends Updated COVID-19 Vaccine for Fall/Winter Virus Season | CDC Online Newsroom | CDC
Overview of COVID-19 Vaccines | CDC
Interim Clinical Considerations for Use of COVID-19 Vaccines | CDC
Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) | CDC
2023 COCA Calls/Webinars Information, Summaries, & Slide Sets (cdc.gov)
COVID.gov - Free at-home COVID-19 test