Dr. Mandy Cohen, Director of the Center for Disease Control, recently said that although we all would like for COVID-19 to be in the “rearview mirror,” it’s still here.

That’s why the CDC is recommending everyone over 6 months old roll up their sleeves and get that shot, including pregnant women and those who have had COVID before. However, experts recommend waiting a few months after the infection for those who have had COVID recently.

“Over time, whether you’ve been infected or had a vaccine or both, we know that your immunity can wane or decrease,” said CDC Chief Medical Officer Dr. Deb Houry.

The latest vaccine, which health authorities say is safe and effective, offers additional protection against the subvariants that are currently spreading. It also helps reduce the risk of severe illness and death.

Experts say the vaccine may even help decrease cases of Long COVID, but it is unclear exactly how long protection will last.

This comes as COVID hospitalizations have increased in the U.S., according to CDC data, though numbers overall are still near historic lows. But health experts still believe it is important to protect yourself against COVID.

“It is at lower levels than this time last year. But because there are new variants circulating, we know it’s important to have that updated vaccine to protect yourself,” Houry said.

This updated vaccine is covered by insurance, and for those who are uninsured, the CDC has a program to help make it accessible.

Rite Aid and Walgreens have appointments available as early as next week. Kinney Drugs will be making appointments available starting today, Sept. 15.

Wegman’s expects the new vaccine to arrive by the end of next week and then will begin offering it. Target’s CVS pharmacies have appointments open starting Tuesday, Sept. 19. Walmart, Price Chopper and Tops pharmacies do not currently have any appointments available.