COVID-19 is picking up again. Guess we thought we could start school off without it this year but it is just too good at staying alive and changing itself. Luckily, it’s not the more severe virus we started the pandemic with. The Omicron strain was found in November 2021 and has had many changes. The variant XBB.1.5 was the dominant strain in the U.S. this summer. EG.5 is one of the newest Omicron variants accounting for about 20% of U.S. cases last week and there’s another variant already being watched. So far, the current variants are not causing any more severe symptoms than what we have been seeing with other variants.
Our county community level is still at a low. You are probably thinking that can’t be right, feels like everyone has COVID again. The community level is based on several factors, not just cases, and includes hospitalization data. I hope we can stay in the low category and this wave of infections will come and go. But, who knows what the winter has in store? This virus proves to be a survivor!
Vaccines: The updated COVID-19 vaccine will be approved in mid-September by the ACIP committee (Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices). After approval and final recommendations, hopefully, we will see it very soon in pharmacies and doctor’s offices. If you can wait, it would be a good idea to get that one since it will have better coverage for the present Omicron strains. There will be several options for COVID vaccine as we have seen in the past. Be on the lookout for where you can get it. The vaccine will be privatized now and the distribution will be different than before. I will not be getting private vaccine to give out which makes me sad because I would love to see everyone again! However, the COVID-19 vaccine will still be available through the Health Unit for qualifying individuals and children. We will have more information soon. I’ll give another update in about 2 weeks when I have more information.
The flu vaccine is out, and with respiratory illnesses picking up, it’s about time to get your flu shot. Getting a flu shot and a COVID shot will be okay to get at the same time if you want. Most doctor’s offices are offering the flu shot now, talk to your doctor about when you can get yours.
Sources: CDC COVID data tracker, CDC COVID-19 variants.