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Appointments for new Covid booster are available in SF

Havin Lim, a student nurse from San Francisco State University, prepares a dosage of a COVID-19 vaccine during a vaccination clinic at the Southeast Health Center in the Bayview-Hunters Point neighborhood in San Francisco, Calif. on Monday, Feb. 8, 2021. | Stephen Lam/The San Francisco Chronicle via Getty Images

Major pharmacies and city sites are now offering the Covid-19 bivalent booster that was approved by the Federal Drug Administration last week. The new shot protects against the original virus as well as the Omicron variants.

A check of Walgreens and CVS sites early this morning showed appointment availability as soon as next week in San Francisco. The SF Department of Public Health says its clinics now have the vaccine in stock, as well.

Grab your insurance card, find your vaccine card, and jump online now to get your booster appointment at one of these providers:

    And experts recommend getting a flu shot at the same appointment. The two shots can be given at the same time and some doctors fear this winter could bring the “twindemic” Covid-flu combo that hit Australia earlier this year.

    Read on to get more information on the latest booster and see a map of where the vaccine will be offered in San Francisco. 

    What is a Bivalent Booster?

    Nearly three years, multiple stay-at-home orders and a bajillion mask mandates later, the federal government announced on Aug. 31 that Americans will be able to get new coronavirus booster shots aimed at fighting the Omicron variants.  The new boosters could be available as soon as next week. 

    The newly approved boosters are reformulated versions of the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines, designed to reduce the risk of hospitalization, death and serious disease—especially as the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) predicts that cooler fall weather may bring in a fresh surge of Covid cases when combined with seasonal flu and other winter illnesses. 

    The new vaccines are dubbed “bivalent” because they target previous strains of coronavirus, as well as the Omicron BA.5 and BA.4 subvariants, the dominant virus in circulation in the U.S. today. 

    Who Qualifies?

    Not everyone can get the newest booster, however. Children under the age of 12 will not be eligible for either vaccine now, though this might change in the next months as officials collect more pediatric information. 

    Booster shots at Bay Area Umoja Health, which held a pop-up to help vaccinate and boost underserved populations on Wednesday, May 11, 2022 in San Francisco, Calif. | Camille Cohen/The Standard

    Currently, anyone over age 12 can receive the new Pfizer-BioNTech booster, and anyone over age 18 can receive the new Moderna booster. These two boosters can be mixed and matched—you don’t have to follow the same vaccine “series,” whether you received a Johnson & Johnson, mRNA or Novovax vaccine. 

    The FDA recommends that people wait to get new boosters until at least two months after receiving their previous dose or booster. Boosters will remain free to all, though some sites will require that patients are a part of their healthcare system to register for an appointment.

    Where Should I Go to Get Boosted?

    San Francisco does not yet list specific sites for where the new booster will be administered, but the federal government anticipates that they will be offered at the same locations where previous vaccines and boosters were available. 

    As of Sept. 7, CVS, Safeway and Walgreens are accepting appointments for the latest booster. 

    Check out our map below to find your nearest COVID vaccination site based on data provided by the City and County of San Francisco, to see where you can get your booster. 

    San Franciscans also qualify for free Muni, Paratransit, Lyft or Uber to and from vaccination appointments. 

    A Guide to Covid Booster & Vaccination Sites in San Francisco