RALEIGH, N.C. (QUEEN CITY NEWS) – Updated COVID-19 boosters are becoming available in North Carolina after the FDA and CDC announced people 12 and older could receive the booster.

The purpose of the updated booster is to protect against the latest variants.

“This vaccine will provide the most up-to-date protection against the latest variants and will help renew your body’s defense system against severe illness, hospitalization, and death from COVID-19,” said N.C. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Kody H. Kinsley.

Vaccines are arriving in the state, and appointments will be more available next week.

“As the weather gets colder and we spend more time indoors, it is important to know you are protected before you go to gatherings, which means getting your COVID-19 vaccines and boosters,” Kinsley added

The department advises that the vaccine is safe to get alongside the annual flu shot. Vaccines are accessible to everyone, regardless of insurance or immigration status.

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Flu vaccines are usually available at little-to-no cost.