A health care worker administers a COVID-19 vaccine in 2021.

New COVID mutants spread in Florida; booster shots will cost soon

New, more infectious coronavirus mutations are spreading across Florida, and some who will seek new vaccinations to protect against the latest viral versions will have to start paying soon.

The federal government has said that by the end of the year it will run out of money to buy COVID-19 vaccines, meaning they will no longer be free to all recipients starting in January.

The latest shots from Moderna and Pfizer, federally approved in late August, are better built to fight offshoots of the virus’ omicron variant. The original omicron and its subvariants have accounted for virtually all COVID infections this year so far.

Those vaccines target the BA.5 omicron subvariant. While BA.5 has waned over the summer, it resembles the latest crop of viral mutations, potentially giving recipients of the latest vaccines immunity stronger compared with those who have gotten the original vaccines, which were designed for the original coronavirus first found in Wuhan, China.

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