No-Cost COVID-19 Vaccines End in August

Computer generated image of the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) virus.

Health leaders are sending out an important message about the federal Bridge Access Program, which was launched in 2023 by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The program will end in August as a result of federal funding cuts. The Bridge Access Program was created to cover the gap for uninsured and underinsured residents after the pandemic public health emergency expired and the federal government no longer distributed the COVID-19 vaccines.

Starting in August 2024, people who want to get a COVID-19 vaccine must use their health insurance, including Medicare and Medicaid, or pay out of pocket. The vaccines will continue to be available at hospitals, pharmacies, and clinics, and the vaccines continue to provide a vital layer of protection against severe COVID-19 illness, hospitalization, and death.

“Since the COVID-19 vaccines were authorized in 2020, we have been proud to offer them for free to the residents without health insurance,” said Dr. Raynard Washington, Mecklenburg County Public Health Director. “But without the Bridge Access Program, we will not have the resources locally to purchase vaccines for all who are uninsured.”

State and local public health departments are exploring ways to address the anticipated coverage gap after the program ends in August. Some good news is that, as a result of Medicaid expansion in December 2023, many more Mecklenburg County residents qualify to receive health insurance through Medicaid. Visit the County’s Medicaid page to learn more about eligibility requirements and apply for Medicaid.

Until the end of August, COVID-19 vaccines are still free for uninsured and under-insured residents. Find participating pharmacies through or call 704-336-6500 to make an appointment at a Mecklenburg County Public Health clinic to get your vaccine today:

  • Northwest Health Dept., 2845 Beatties Ford Rd: Mon., Tue., Thu. and Fri. 8 a.m. - 5 p.m. and Wed. 10 a.m. - 7 p.m.
  • Southeast Health Dept., 249 Billingsley Rd: Mon., Tue., Thu. and Fri. 8 a.m. - 5 p.m. and Wed. 10 a.m. - 7 p.m. 
  • Valerie C. Woodard Community Resource Center, 3205 Freedom Dr: Mon. - Fri. 8 a.m. - 5 p.m.
  • Ella B. Scarborough Community Resource Center, 430 Stitt Rd: Mon. - Fri. 8 a.m. - 5 p.m.

Visit the County’s COVID-19 Resources and Updates page for COVID-19 information and data, and see all respiratory illness guidance on the CDC’s website.