Updated COVID-19 booster vaccines are now available at health departments in District 4 Public Health – including Pike County’s Health Department – and residents also can receive a flu shot when they get the new booster. The CDC recommends a flu shot for those 6 months of age and older and says the best time to get the vaccine is between now and mid-October – and by Halloween at the very latest.
It takes about two weeks to build immunity after vaccination, so that gives individuals maximum protection by Halloween and for indoor gatherings with family and friends during the holidays. If it’s been at least two months since a person’s last COVID-19 primary vaccine or booster, getting the new bivalent booster at the same time as the flu shot is a convenient way to prepare for what could be a severe season for the flu and respiratory illnesses in general.
People may have less natural immunity this season because not as many were infected with influenza in 2020 and 2021 due to precautions taken to prevent COVID-19. In addition, the flu virus may be better equipped to circulate as life is now returning to fewer masks and more social interaction, especially in schools. The more individuals who get flu shots earlier, the less the virus will be able to spread.
The bivalent booster, or “omicron booster,” has replaced the original booster formulas for individuals 12 years of age and older. It targets two versions of the coronavirus: the original strain, and the omicron subvariants BA.4 and BA.5 that are currently circulating. The previous booster shot targeted only the original version of the virus.
Call 800-847-4262 to schedule an appointment to receive one or both vaccines.