Updated COVID-19 vaccine targets new variants
ROCKFORD, Ill. (WIFR) - As Summer turns to Fall, cooler temperatures bring higher rates of infection. New evidence from the Illinois Department of Health shows a 7% increase in COVID cases last week.
The CDC is recommending everyone over the age of 6 months receive an immunization.
COVID’s latest strains are a spinoff of the Omicron variant, called the Pirola variant and the Eris variant. Doctors say these two strains will not be as deadly as prior variants but will be more contagious than ever before. Despite this, UW Health COVID clinical trial investigator Dr. Bill Hartman says he does not expect any new mask or stay-at-home mandates in the near future.
“The lockdowns happened at a time when we didn’t have much immunity in our systems,” said Hartman. “Now, we’ve got a pretty high level of community immunity, and we know better how to handle it. I don’t see any further mandates coming down.”
Although many now have antibodies to lessen the effects of the corona virus, doctors warn of a combination of COVID with RSV or the Flu, which could cause considerable damage to immune systems. The IDPH calls it the tripledemic.
“The strains have definitely become easier to catch, more contagious. Respiratory viruses spread very easily,” said Hartman. “We expect the numbers of all these respiratory viruses including covid, influenza and RSV all to increase.”
The Winnebago County Health Department release a statement, saying “The Winnebago County Health Department recommends that everyone 6 months and older get an updated COVID-19 vaccine when it becomes available and an annual flu vaccine before Halloween...The Winnebago County Health Department offers Paxlovid to treat COVID-19 for those who test positive, are vulnerable to being hospitalized, and have a hard time getting the treatment from a provider. Registration for Paxlovid is available on the website at publichealth.wincoil.gov.
According to IDPH, most health insurance plans still cover the COVID vaccine at no cost to the individual. Those that do not have health insurance can get a free vaccine at pharmacies and local health centers.
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