Pharmacist Aaron Sun administers Pfizer's new COMIRNATY® vaccine to Jimmy Smagula at CVS Pharmacy in Eagle Rock, California.
Irfan Khan | Los Angeles Times | Getty Images
Uninsured Americans can now get the latest Covid vaccines for free at specific locations across the country, just days after U.S. regulators gave most people the green light to get that shot.
The updated jabs from Pfizer And Moderna began rolling out late last week, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended They were presented last Tuesday to all Americans six months and older.
Patients can now use the federal government's search function to find locations with appointments for the new vaccinations. Vaccines.gov. The website also includes a filter for locations offering free Covid vaccines to the uninsured, including several CVS And Walgreens Pharmacies.
This filter specifically shows locations participating in the Biden administration's Bridge Access Program, which provides free Covid vaccines and treatments to the uninsured through December 2024.
The Bridge Access Program aims to maintain widespread access to Covid products after a major change in the way the US covers them. Previously, the federal government purchased Covid vaccines directly from manufacturers at a discount to distribute for free to all Americans.
But now that the Covid public health emergency has expired in the US, the government is shifting its response to the commercial market. That means manufacturers will sell their new shots directly to health care providers for more than $120 per dose.
The vast majority of Americans will be able to get the new vaccines for free through private insurance or government payers such as Medicare. Meanwhile, the Bridge Access Program aims to close the gap for the estimated 30 million uninsured Americans.
How uninsured people can find appointments
Clicking on “Find Covid-19 Vaccines” on Vaccines.gov takes patients to the search tool. There, patients must enter their 5-digit zip code and select which brands of vaccine they would like to receive, as well as their age group.
Vaccines.gov displays options for finding Covid vaccines based on vaccine brand, age group and zip code in the US
All available Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are the newly approved versions that target XBB.1.5. The companies' booster shots from last year, designed for different Covid strains, are no longer approved for use in the United States
Now everyone Novavax The available vaccines are still the older version that does not target XBB.1.5. The updated Novavax shot is still being reviewed by the Food and Drug Administration and could be approved within days.
Once patients make their selection, the website generates a list of locations and a corresponding map. Uninsured patients can check off a filter that only shows locations that participate in the Bridge Access Program.
This will likely narrow the list to several CVS and Walgreens pharmacy locations.
Vaccines.gov's search tool shows pharmacies and other locations offering free vaccines to uninsured Americans through the Biden administration's Bridge Access Program.
After selecting a location, patients make an appointment directly with the pharmacy. For example, people can schedule vaccination appointments on the CVS website or CVS Pharmacy app.
Uninsured patients can then come to their scheduled appointment and get vaccinated. They are not required to show their ID, a CVS spokesperson told CNBC.