Summit County Health Department will begin on Wednesday offering a new coronavirus booster to better protect people from the Omicron variant.
The updated bivalent boosters for COVID-19, meaning the vaccine targets both the original coronavirus and the more contagious sub-variants BA.4 and BA.5, were cleared last week by the Food and Drug Administration and Centers for United States Disease Control and Prevention. The Omicron variant is currently the most widespread of the coronavirus variants, according to health officials.
“The updated COVID-19 boosters are formulated to better protect against the latest COVID-19 variant out there. They can help restore the protection that waned from the previous vaccination and were designed to provide broader protection against the new variants. This recommendation followed a thorough scientific evaluation and solid scientific discussion, “said Dr. Rochelle Walensky, director of the CDC, in a prepared statement.” If you are eligible, there is no bad time to get the your COVID-19 booster and I strongly encourage you to receive it. “
The Department of Health began accepting appointments on Tuesday. Both Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna bivalent boosters will be offered at the Department of Health’s Round Valley, Kamas and Coalville offices. The FDA is removing the authorization for the previous monovalent booster. Shots will no longer be available to people aged 12 and over. Any dose can be administered to an individual regardless of the vaccine originally received.
The bivalent booster is only available to people who have completed their primary vaccination series, which consists of two doses of Pfizer or Moderna or one dose of Johnson & Johnson. People who have received the Novovax coronavirus vaccine are not eligible for a booster.
A person is eligible for the vaccine two months after the last primary or booster dose. The Pfizer booster is licensed for people over the age of 11, while the Moderna vaccine is available for people aged 18 and over. Any injection can be given to an individual regardless of the vaccine originally received.
Parents with children not old enough to receive the updated booster are encouraged to vaccinate their child with the original vaccine to improve their defense against the virus as they return to school.
Health officials predict that children under 12 will be able to receive the updated booster soon, but the timing is uncertain. Parents are advised to complete their child’s primary vaccination series so that they can benefit from the bivalent booster when it becomes available.
This week, 22 confirmed cases of the coronavirus with zero hospitalizations were reported in Summit County. The positive test is about 12% compared to 14% the previous week. There were 39 confirmed cases last week and two hospitalizations.
Summit County has a low level of COVID-19 community, according to the Department of Health’s new COVID-19 dashboard. The level may differ from the CDC ranking at times as the data represents only local hospitals. The federal report includes hospitals in surrounding counties with areas that transcend into Summit County.
“There is now data to confidently prove that COVID-19 vaccines are very safe and effective. Although the new variants may be more immune evasive than the previous ones, vaccines have still been shown to protect against serious disease. There is a plan to have a specific vaccine for Omicron by this fall, “the Department of Health website states.” Eventually, the vaccines will be formulated for new variants each year, similar to the annual flu shot. “