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Uninsured Americans can find free Moderna, Pfizer shots

Uninsured Americans can find free Moderna, Pfizer shots

Pharmacist Aaron Sun administers new vaccine COMIRNATY® by Pfizer, to Jimmy Smagula at CVS Pharmacy in Eagle Rock, CA.

Irfan Khan | Los Angeles Times | Getty Images

Uninsured Americans can now get the newest Covid vaccines for free at certain locations across the country, just days after U.S. regulators greenlit those shots for most people.

The updated jabs from Pfizer and Moderna began to roll out late last week after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended them to all Americans ages six months and up last Tuesday. 

Patients can now find locations with appointments for the new shots using the federal government’s search tool, Vaccines.gov. The website also includes a filter for locations that are providing Covid vaccines at no cost to those who are uninsured, including several CVS and Walgreens pharmacies.

That filter specifically shows locations participating in the Biden administration’s “Bridge Access Program,” which will provide free Covid vaccines and treatments to uninsured people through December 2024.

The Bridge Access Program aims to maintain broad access to Covid products after a big shift in how the U.S. covers them. Previously, the federal government purchased Covid vaccines directly from manufacturers at a discount to distribute to all Americans for free.

But now that the U.S. Covid public health emergency has expired, the government is shifting shots to the commercial market. That means manufacturers will sell their new jabs directly to health-care providers at more than $120 per dose.

The vast majority of Americans will be able to get the new vaccines at no cost through private insurance or government payers like Medicare. Meanwhile, the Bridge Access Program is aiming to fill the gap for the estimated 30 million uninsured Americans. 

How uninsured people can find appointments 

Clicking on “Find Covid-19 vaccines” on Vaccines.gov will bring patients to the search tool. There, patients have to enter their 5-digit zip code and select which vaccine brands they want to receive, along with the their age group. 

Vaccines.gov displaying options to find Covid vaccines based on vaccine brand, age group and zip code in the U.S.

Vaccines.gov

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