*Above video is a recent story about a new COVID variant detected in NE Ohio*

COLUMBUS, Ohio (WJW) — If you have medical insurance, and that includes Medicare or Medicaid, vaccines should be covered as a preventive health service, according Ohio Department of Health Director Bruce Vanderhoff.

“Plus, those without insurance can take advantage of several programs to ensure they can continue to get free vaccines,” Vanderhoff said.

On Monday, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the updated vaccine which targets the predominant variants currently circulating.

“As we head into fall and winter, which typically are when we see increases in respiratory viruses, it’s important that Ohioans keep up with their vaccines,” Vanderhoff added. “ODH will continue to offer vaccines free of charge to eligible children, including those who are uninsured, through the federal Vaccines for Children (VFC) program.”

ODH said for uninsured adults, the CDC has created the Bridge Access Program, which will be in effect through the end of 2024. As part of that program, the CDC has contracted with CVS, Walgreens and eTrue North pharmacies to allow them to keep offering free COVID-19 vaccinations to the uninsured. Individuals will be able to visit Vaccines.gov to find providers participating in this program.

Nearly 75% of adult Ohioans have received at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine, but Vanderhoff encourages Ohioans to stay up to date with their vaccines.