Oneida County Health Department to start combined COVID & flu shot clinics
For most of the summer, Oneida County has been averaging between 9 and 15 new COVID-19 cases a day.
While not high, it’s not low either. Of all those cases, three deaths of Oneida County residents have been contributed to COVID.
For comparison, Oneida County was experiencing a similar number of cases in winter of 2020, but deaths were much higher.
The difference now is the tools and knowledge healthcare professional have to prevent and treat COVID.
Oneida County Health Department Director Linda Conlon says the current strains, available treatments, and immunity all go into that decrease in death and hospitalizations.
“First and foremost are vaccination rate and our natural immunity is contributing to those factors where we have more immunity in our community. Even though we’re having disease many people are having milder disease,” said Conlon.
About 66% of Oneida County residents have gotten at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, about 37% have gotten a booster dose.
The new bivalent booster doses are supposed to increase protection against death and hospitalization.
The booster targets the original COVID-19 strain as well as the more common Omicron strains that are spreading now.
“If we see a shift or if we see a new subvariant that is more severe and does cause illness and death. It will be likely more closely related to Omicron and if it’s more closely related to Omicron then what we will see is that vaccine is that vaccine will project us more,” said Conlon.
It’s recommended to get the new booster two to three months after a COVID infection or your latest COVID vaccine, whether that’s the initial dose or series or a booster.
Those at less risk for severe disease could wait a little longer.
But Conlon recommends getting it sooner than later.
“Up here we’re starting school, weather is getting cooler, so more people are going to be indoors. We do want people to get vaccinated sometime this fall, early winter,” said Conlon.
The booster is available to anyone 12 years and older with the Pfizer booster or 18 and older with the Moderna booster.
Conlon expects to get doses of it this week or early next and is hoping to start holding vaccine clinics at Grace Foursquare Church once again by the end of next week.
Flu shots will also be available at these clinics, the two shots can be taken together.
The health department’s website also has resources for testing, what to do if you test positive, and other vaccine information.