SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) — The newest COVID booster shot clinic is now up and running in Savannah. It’s offering the new updated bivalent shot.
Bivalent vaccines mean it covers both the original coronavirus as well as the now commonly circulating BA.4 and BA.5 omicron variants.
So, who is eligible?
Anyone who has received the original shots at least two months before you get the booster.
Moderna’s is authorized for people 18 and older and Pfizer is for those 12 and older.
For those people who are vaccinated and have been recently infected, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends waiting three months after the infection to get the targeted booster.
Coastal Care Partners and Village Walk Pharmacy are teaming up to help all eligible community members get this new bivalent booster. It comes at a time when the shot isn’t widely available yet in our area.
“It’s been fantastic turnout,” said Scott Pierce, Co-owner and COO of Coastal Care Partners.
Just a couple of weeks ago, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved new bivalent COVID-19 boosters. Now it’s slowly making its way to the Coastal Empire and so far there’s been lots of demand.
“We saw such a huge surge as this virus has morphed over the past couple of years and the fact that this is the first vaccine that has been updated to take into effect some of the omicron variants, people are reading that and they’re reading the reports from the CDC that they’re advocating for folks to get this,” Pierce said.
Health experts say that this vaccine could help curb potential spikes in the fall and winter and cause future COVID surges to be less severe.
“A lot of the physicians I speak with talk about how great the reduction of serious COVID has become,” Pierce said. “The hospitals here in Savannah, only 3% of the hospital beds are occupied with COVID patients. You go back to January of this year when omicron was spiking and it was 55 to 60% of the hospital beds were taken up with COVID patients.”
This booster could also help lessen the frequency and severity of pediatric COVID cases for children who are eligible.
“The original strains we were seeing were predominately adult infections, children were almost passive carriers,” said Dr. Ben Spitalnick of the Pediatric Associates of Savannah. “With the omicron strain, we’re seeing kids affected we’re seeing them sick, we’re seeing them miss school.”
Omicron has impacted kids more than any other strain of the virus and health experts say getting them vaccinated could help protect them from long-term effects of the virus.
“We’re starting to see long-term effects that we’re just beginning to understand and we’re seeing that the kids who are vaccinated are much less likely to develop long-term effects than if they catch the wild-type infection,” Spitalnick said.