SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – Covid-19 cases are rising across the U.S. and now there is an updated vaccine. 22News is working for you with what you need to know if you want to get vaccinated.

If you’re looking to get this new vaccine, health officials say it should be available later this week. Covid-19 is spreading across the U.S. and health experts are advising people to stay up to date with their vaccines especially as we head into the colder months where virus cases start to ramp up.

“You may need one or two doses or up to three doses depending on your age. To be up to date if you received a previous COVID-19 vaccination then you just need the booster shot to be up to date,” said Dr. Armando Paez, Chief of Infectious Diseases at Baystate Health.

If you are vaccinated and have not received a vaccine in the past two months you can get the updated vaccine when it becomes available this week. According to the CDC, these COVID vaccinations can also help to prevent the effects of long COVID-19 which can develop during or after an acute infection and last for an extended amount of time.

Dr. Paez told 22News that to this day vaccinations are the best protection against COVID-19-related hospitalizations and deaths, “There’s an increasing number of cases of COVID-19 across the community and we see that also in the patients we screen who are hospitalized.”

While the new variants BA 2.86 and the most dominant strain EG.5 run their course, Dr. Paez says people should still take safety precautions, especially the elderly and immunocompromised community. Safety precautions include wearing a mask, avoiding crowds, and washing your hands.

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Kiara Smith is a reporter who has been a part of the 22News team since March 2023. Follow Kiara on X @KiaraBSmith1 and view her bio to see more of her work.