New COVID-19 booster shots available next week in Houston area

The updated shots have a single target, an omicron descendant named XBB.1.5. 


A health care worker fills a syringe with the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine.

Hospitals and pharmacies are preparing for the rollout of new COVID-19 booster shots that will be available to the public in Houston next week.

Both CVS and Walgreens announced that they have the shot in stock and will begin taking appointments next week. The Pfizer and Moderna shots will be free at the pharmacies, and appointments and walk-ins are welcome. Federal officials said the new COVID-19 shots will be free to most Americans through private insurance, Medicare or Medicaid.

Houston Methodist Hospital said they don’t have the shipment of booster shots yet, but are anticipating one soon. Dr. Ashley Drews is an infectious disease specialist at Houston Methodist and said people as young as six months old are eligible for the shot.

“It is emergency use authorization for people six months to 11 years,” Dr. Drews said. “And it is full FDA approval for people 12 years and older.”

As variants continue to evolve, Dr. Drews said it will still be likely to be an annual recommendation to get the COVID vaccine for those who have high risk.

The updated shots have a single target, an omicron descendant named XBB.1.5.

“And for other people like myself who work in healthcare,” she said. “I obviously interact with people who are at risk. I also anticipate that I will be receiving boosters on an annual basis to make sure that I’m as safe as possible around these people who are at risk so that I don’t transmit infection to them.”

Matt Harab and The Associated Press contributed to this report.