When should you get a COVID reminder? Experts say before the holidays

Less than 8% of all Utah residents are considered current on their COVID-19 vaccinationaccording to the Utah Department of Health and Human Services.

But health experts say it’s not too late for adults and children from the age of 5 to be protected against COVID-19 this Thanksgiving and other holidays this winter by rolling up our sleeves for the last booster shotthe first intended to circulate currently versions of the virus.

“Scientifically, I think now is the perfect time to get it,” said Rich Lakin, director of immunizations for the state Department of Health and Human Services. Based on the two to three weeks it may take to immunity to build up, he said an updated booster dose now means a high level of protection once the holidays roll around.

Even before the families sat down together for a Thanksgiving meal, Lakin said they likely would have been subjected to exposure to the virus, since “we all know that before Thanksgiving, people go shopping. They will get closer. It will be colder. »

Covid-19 cases Already beginning to climb, with the state reporting that the seven-day average number of cases has increased nearly 14% over the past week to just over 346. The seven-day average of new admissions to the hospital for the virus also jumped from less than 16 to 18 a day, an increase of just over 13%.

The state Department of Health and Human Services also reported that nine more Utahns have lost their lives to COVID-19 since the last update posted on coronavirus.utah.gov a week ago, bringing the virus death toll in Utah at 5,065.

Increased immunity should last not just at Christmas and New Years, but all winter long. he said, of what is called a bivalent booster, as it also continues to target the original COVID-19 strain in addition to versions of the omicron variant marked BA.4 and BA.5 who are responsible for most cases in the United States

Updated booster shots have been federally approved for adults and children as young as 5 years old, as long as it has been two months or more since they received the initial doses of the COVID-19 vaccine, available for all at least 6 months.

People are considered current on their vaccinations if they are 5 years of age or older and have received the update booster, or if they are under 5 years of age and have completed the initial vaccination series. At the national level, the Centers for Disaster Control and Prevention says 7.3% of Americans age 5 or older have received the updated reminder.

Low booster consumption ‘frustrating’ for FDA official

Hilary Marston, Chief Medical Officer of the United States Food and Drug Administration, expressed concern in an interview with American Scientist published this week on the low usage of the updated booster shots that became available in early September.

“Would I like to see the numbers higher? Absolutely. And I think any healthcare worker would and anyone who is following this pandemic very closely. As a health care worker, boy, I feel for those in emergency rooms on the front lines,” Marston said.

These health workers “are going to be there to take care of you if you get sick, of course, but it’s so distressing,” she said. “And it’s frustrating, because we have tools, we have more than we could have hoped for at the start of this pandemic. And it’s frustrating to see the boosters do not take up arms.”

Marston called the updated snaps “the best thing you can do to protect yourself against this virus”, and urged everyone who is eligible to get them. She said those who are hospitalized or who die from COVID-19 are “a very large majority of people who have not been vaccinated at all or who have not been vaccinated”.

Lakin is optimistic Utahns’ interest in booster shots will soon begin to rise.

“It’s low everywhere. I think people are suffering from vaccine fatigue right now. As fall approaches, we ask them to get a vaccine against influenza. We ask them to get another dual booster. There were a lot of recalls,” he said. “We just have to be patient, and as the season gets closer to winter I think we’ll start to see an increase.”

Why Utah’s state immunization director had to wait for his recall

The director of immunization for the state Department of Health and Human Services is waiting to receive his updated COVID-19 booster shot due to ongoing symptoms of a breakthrough case of the virus during the summer, in particular by losing their senses of taste and smell.

It is recommended for people who have had COVID-19 wait three months before receiving the booster shot, as they have some natural immunity following an infection. Lakin said he plans to get both an updated COVID-19 booster shot and his annual report. flu vaccination this week.

“You know, the virus can do this to you,” he said, describing himself as lucky because he suffered no damage to his lungs or other organs. But Lakin said he expects to have to live with the “strange” effects of his long COVID-19 for a year or more because so little is known about the treatment.

For those still question the need for the updated COVID-19 reminder, his message was clear.

“The risk of a vaccine is very minimal compared to the risk of the virus itself. And you just don’t know if you get COVID if you’re going to be one of those people who will have serious complications,” Lakin said, attributing to vaccines. save millions of lives.

“I just think people need to remember that this the pandemic is not over. It will continue for some time,” he warned. “The best thing to do is protect yourselfand you can do it with the vaccine.

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