Covid-19 booster shot will no longer be covered by the federal government

Published: Aug. 29, 2022 at 6:58 PM EDT
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ATLANTA, Ga. (CBS46) - Throughout the pandemic, Americans have been able to get the covid-19 vaccines, treatments, and the tests without having to pay with their own money. But that’s about to change.

The Biden administration is planning to transition to using a standard commercial healthcare model that would require health insurers, pharmacy benefit managers, and patients to pay for the covid-19 vaccine.

The Center For Disease Control says this covid-19 booster shot is new, and will focus more specifically on the BA.5 variant.

“Pfizer and Moderna have put forward applications for this new booster for the fall. A B-variant booster, which is part prototype, the original strain, and part BA.5,” said Dr. Rochelle Walensky, CDC director.

Everyone will likely have to pay for it, if their health insurance doesn’t fully cover it.

“It just adds an additional barrier for many people who are struggling to afford medical care,” said Natasha Taylor, senior director of policy and access for Georgia Watch. “I think that adding an existing barrier to the vaccine will further marginalize populations who already have issues accessing the vaccine.”

Fulton County health officials say they’ll defer to the state’s Department of Public Health to figure out how to handle patient and insurance costs, but they plan on using the same online scheduling system.

Cobb and Douglas county health officials say they’re still waiting for guidance from the federal government on how to proceed.

Friday is the last chance to get the free covid-19 at-home tests. The government website says this is because Congress “hasn’t provided any additional funding to replenish the nation’s stockpile of tests.”