While the holiday season is well underway, the Alabama Department of Public Health encourages you to make time in your busy schedule to get up to date with your COVID-19 vaccinations if you haven’t already. Family, friends and others you encounter in the days to come are vulnerable to infection and may not be able to protect themselves from the virus. Anyone infected with COVID-19 can spread it, even without symptoms.
Consider the benefits of vaccination in preventing hospitalizations and deaths for those at higher risk: Children under 5 are not yet eligible for the boosters and immunocompromised people, such as those who have had cancer or are age 65 and older, are at greater risk of becoming sick or dying from COVID, even with vaccination.
Everyone 6 months and older should get all doses in their COVID-19 vaccine primary series. For your primary series, Moderna, Pfizer-BioNTech and Novavax COVID-19 vaccines are recommended. Then the newer bivalent COVID-19 booster shots will help protect against the original SARS-CoV-2 virus and the Omicron variants BA.4 and BA.5.
While it is not clear that the booster vaccine fully protects against these variants, getting a booster has higher neutralizing antibodies against the Omicron variants and can reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19 to others in our communities in the coming months. Studies show that adverse events reported after a bivalent booster dose appear consistent with those reported after a monovalent booster and are less common and less serious than the health impacts associated with COVID-19 illness.
If it has been at least 2 months since your last COVID-19 vaccine dose, the Moderna COVID-19 Vaccine, Bivalent, is authorized as a single booster dose for ages 6 and older. The Pfizer-BioNTech Vaccine, Bivalent, is authorized for use as a single booster dose for ages 5 and older.
If you are hesitant about getting a COVID-19 vaccine or booster, please discuss it with your healthcare provider. The sooner you are vaccinated, the sooner you have protection. To find COVID-19 vaccination locations near you, search vaccines.gov, text your zip code to 438829, or call 1-800-232-0233.
Helpful information about recommended COVID-19 vaccines and boosters for individuals is available at the following website: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/stay-up-to-date.html
Getting a COVID-19 vaccine after you recover from COVID-19 infection provides added protection against the coronavirus. If you recently had COVID-19, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states that you may consider delaying your next vaccine dose (primary dose or booster) by 3 months from when your symptoms started or, if you had no symptoms, when you first received a positive test.
If you get COVID-19, treatments are available that can reduce your chances of hospitalization and death. The CDC provides the following overview of what you need to know about treatments.
If you test positive for COVID-19 and are more likely to get very sick, treatments are available that can reduce your chances of hospitalization and death. As new Omicron subvariants become more prevalent, different medications are authorized for emergency use.
· Don’t delay: Treatment must be started within days after you first develop symptoms to be effective.
Other medications can help reduce symptoms and help you manage your illness.
Medications for COVID-19 are available through your healthcare provider, health clinics and local pharmacies. If you have COVID-19 symptoms and test positive, do not wait to be treated.
COVID-19 vaccines are safe and effective at protecting you from serious illness, hospitalization, and death. Since every COVID-19 infection gives the virus a chance to mutate, being vaccinated helps prevent the spread of COVID-19 and its variants in our state and world.
For more information, go to https://www.alabamapublichealth.gov/covid19/index.html