SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — The Springfield-Greene County Health Department is set to receive the latest versions of the Moderna and Pfizer COVID-19 vaccines by the end of September.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently gave approval to these updated versions, which are authorized for anyone aged six months and older.

This news comes after the health department had to hit pause on COVID-19 vaccinations for people 12 and up due to a lack of the latest shots. The department says that the surplus vaccines they had on hand wouldn’t be as effective.

With new strains of the virus emerging, health leaders in Springfield are urging high-risk groups to consider getting the most up-to-date vaccine.

“COVID-19 has been here for a long time, but it continues to evolve and change. And so with these new vaccines, it’ll provide better protection, especially as we’re going into the fall and winter months,” said Nancy Yoon, chief medical officer at the Springfield-Greene County Health Department.

Additionally, the health department is seeing a slow but steady rise in COVID-19 cases in Springfield, particularly with students back in school and flu season right around the corner.

“We are starting to get into the respiratory virus season. And so this could be anything from COVID-19 or the flu and RSV and a lot of different viruses. And now that kids are back in school and as the weather gets colder, people are going to be indoors more. So it’s just kind of a recipe for things like viruses. If one person gets it, it’s very easy for another person to catch it,” Yoon said.

Despite the rise in cases, Yoon emphasized that the vaccines have been tested and are very safe. Even those who have already had their boosters or previous doses are recommended to get the updated shot.

The health department expects to have the new vaccines by the end of September.