(WGHP) — There is a new COVID-19 vaccine variation for the fall 2023 version.  

It’s not a booster. It’s just like how the flu shot changes every year to match the strains going around.  

To get technical, it covers the XBB. 1.5 variant of COVID-19, and it’s monovalent, meaning it has one component.  

That’s a fancy explanation to say this new version covers the strain going around.  

Since the emergency declaration ended, COVID-19 vaccines can cost more than $100, but they are legally supposed to be free if you have insurance or qualify for certain programs.   

The Piedmont Triad is seeing an increased demand for COVID-19 shots.  

“I would describe it as a typical increase that we see this time of year with respiratory illness,” Alamance Public Health Director Tony Lo Giudice said.  

Whether it’s a cold, flu, COVID-19 or something else, people often get sick in the fall and start thinking about vaccines.   

“We are just seeing that general uptick and folks making appointments to get their recommended vaccines,” Giudice said.  

The Alamance County Health Department is well-stocked with COVID-19 and flu shots, but some other counties may not be.   

  • Forsyth County has Pfizer shots  
  • Guilford doesn’t as of Oct. 12  
  • Randolph County doesn’t have any as of Oct. 12
  • Alamance County has both Pfizer and Moderna by appointment   
  • Davidson County has vaccines by appointment only

Forsyth County has seen a surge in vaccine demand, providing 1,000 this month alone, and they’re the only local county health department offering them for free.   

“Anybody can come here no matter your insurance … We are not billing insurance, and that’s for both our COVID and flu vaccines right now,” Forsyth County Assistant Health Director Kamilah Pleasants said.

You don’t even need to live in Forsyth County. 

Guilford County didn’t have any information to share as of Thursday but said a release was coming on Friday.

In Randolph County when they get them in, it’ll be about $130 out of pocket with no insurance.  

In Alamance County, they’ll take insurance or roughly $200 out of pocket. In Davidson County, it’s $176 for Moderna and $158 for Pfizer out of pocket.  

“My recommendation is to call ahead and speak with a representative wherever you go,” Giudice said.  

Many vaccine providers are participating in programs to provide free vaccines.   

“Most all health departments are going to participate in the Bridge Program or the Vaccines for Children Program,” he said.  

If you do go, you can get protected against COVID-19 and the flu in one visit.  

“More research has been done, and now you can get them both at the same time,” Pleasants said.  

Health experts said the current symptoms of COVID-19 show up in a sneaky way.  

“’I have a scratch in my throat. I think it’s just I am coming down with a cold in the change of weather,’ and you take a test … three to five days later you test positive for COVID,” Pleasants said.  

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