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The updated COVID-19 booster provides the best level of protection against severe cases of COVID-19.

Everyone age 5 and older should get an updated booster when eligible.

This booster was made to fight strains of COVID-19 that are more commonly circulating through our communities right now (Omicron BA.4 and BA.5). Previous shots were effective for fighting serious illness and hospitalization against the original strain of COVID-19, but they were not specifically targeted to the strains we face today.

We also know that the effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccines against serious illness and hospitalizations decreases over time. If you have not had a booster recently – it is important that you prioritize getting an updated booster as you may not be well protected by vaccines whose effectiveness has decreased.

COVID-19 vaccines, including the updated boosters, are safe. They help protect people from getting very sick and may decrease the risk of long-term complications from COVID-19.

As we approach the holidays, it is more important than ever that you are up to date on your COVID-19 vaccinations to keep yourself, your family and your communities safe from severe illness or hospitalization from COVID-19.

It is easy and free to get your updated COVID-19 booster. Learn more about where to get this updated vaccine at Find COVID-19 Vaccine Locations (https://mn.gov/covid19/vaccine/find-vaccine/locations/index.jsp).

Many of us will be gathering with family and friends during the upcoming holidays. With many respiratory diseases spreading right now, including flu, RSV, and COVID-19, it is important to take steps to help everyone celebrate safer!

Here are some things you can do:

Make sure you and your family are up to date on your COVID-19 vaccines and have received your annual flu vaccine. You can get both vaccines at the same visit.

Find COVID-19 and flu vaccine locations near you at vaccines.gov. Many locations, such as pharmacies, may have both vaccines, so you can ask about getting both shots at the same time. 

Stay home if you are feeling sick. No one wants to miss out on the celebration, but it is important to stay home so others do not get sick.

Wash your hands often.

Check the CDC COVID-19 community level before you go so you can follow appropriate public health recommendations, such as when to wear a mask. You can also wear a mask at any time, no matter what the community level is. The CDC provides an easy way to check levels by county: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus.

Consider COVID-19 testing before gathering, particularly if there will be people there who are at higher risk for severe disease.

Learn more at Protect Yourself and Others: COVID-19 (https://www.health.state.mn.us/diseases/coronavirus/prevention.html) and Influenza (www.mdhflu.com)

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