Georgia, South Carolina nearly ready to roll out new COVID shots
AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) - Georgia Department of Public Health officials announced they will offer the new COVID-19 booster this week, as shipments of the vaccine arrive in Georgia.
the so-called bivalent booster protects against original COVID as well as new, more contagious strains.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices recommend the bivalent booster manufactured by Pfizer for people ages 12 and older; and officials recommend the bivalent booster by Moderna for adults aged 18 and older.
According to officials, the current COVID booster doses “contain the genetic recipe for the original strain of COVID-19. The bivalent vaccine contains the genetic recipes for two versions of COVID-19; the original strain, plus the omicron subvariants BA.4 and BA.5, offering better protection. People should wait at least two months after completing their initial vaccination or their last booster shot before getting the bivalent booster.”
A weekly average of 3,000 cases of COVID-19 is currently being reported in Georgia; more than 89 % of newly reported cases “are caused by the BA.5 variant.” Officials add that hospitalizations and deaths have steadily decreased across Georgia.
Across the river in South Carolina
Dr. Brannon Traxler with the South Caroline Department of Health and Environmental Control gave updates on both COVID and monkeypox this week as vaccines become more widely available for both.
The new bivalent COVID vaccine will soon be available in South Carolina. People 12 and up will be able to get the Pfizer shot. People 18 and up will be able to get the Moderna shot.
Traxler says you should wait two months after your last dose or three months after having COVID before you get the vaccine, and they should be available statewide by the end of the week.
With the school year ramping up, Traxler says they no longer require schools to report every case, just outbreaks. She says the best thing parents can do for their kids is get them vaccinated.
“We do know that there will be cases and outbreaks, just like we have flu cases and outbreaks every year. Our goal is to work with schools, just like with flu, and keep those to a minimum,” she said
As for monkeypox, vaccines are available for men who have sex with men and anyone getting HIV prep. The vaccines are not recommended for healthcare workers or the general public.
Traxler wanted to be clear that this is not another COVID-19 pandemic. Monkeypox is much harder to transmit, but she says it is strange to see this big of an outbreak.
“It has not been something that we see in outbreak status really outside of specific countries in Africa. While you may have sporadic cases in Europe or North America, we just don’t see the outbreak status like we’re seeing right now. So that’s what makes this unusual,” she said.
To schedule a monkeypox appointment, call 888-472-3432 from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday or go to scdhec.gov
To find a COVID vaccination, visit vaxlocator.dhec.sc.gov
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