(KFOR Lincoln September 16, 2023) The Lincoln-Lancaster County Health Department (LLCHD) announced Thursday that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has approved an updated COVID-19 vaccine for this fall and winter for everyone age 6 months and older.

LLCHD is awaiting final guidance from the federal government and will provide more information on availability of the updated vaccine in the near future. The updated vaccine is also being offered at some pharmacies. Contact the pharmacy or visit vaccines.gov to check locations and availability. Those who have not received a COVID-19 vaccine in the last two months, are eligible to get the updated vaccine.

Vaccination remains one of the best defenses against COVID-19. The safe and effective updated vaccine targets omicron variant XBB.1.5, which is closely related to other variants currently circulating and causing the most illnesses in the U.S.

Health Department data shows COVID-19 cases are holding steady. Wastewater analysis shows a slight increase in viral particles detected.

“The updated vaccine is coming at crucial time,” said Pat Lopez, Health Director. “We expect to see more cases of COVID-19 in the months ahead along with other respiratory viruses. We recommend residents get the updated vaccine as soon as it’s available locally so they have heightened protection as we move into fall and winter.”

 At-home testing

COVID-19 at-home test kits are now available in the main lobby of the Health Department during regular business hours and at all Lincoln City Library locations.  

Health officials also recommend residents take an at-home test or get tested if experiencing COVID-19 symptoms or if they have been exposed to someone with the virus, and to stay home if sick. Lincoln and Lancaster County residents can report results of their at-home COVID-19 tests to the Health Department. The form is available at lincoln.ne.gov/COVID19ReportResults. All information is confidential. Those requiring assistance completing the form may call LLCHD at 402-441-8006.