Newest COVID-19 boosters are available from Summit County Health Department
The new COVID-19 boosters available through the Summit County Health Department do a much better job preventing repeat COVID infections in vaccinated people than the previous booster.
COVID-19 has mutated, with several variants emerging since 2020. Summit County Public Health Director Phil Bondurant said the latest booster responds to the mutation BA 4 and BA 5 omicron variant, which is highly contagious.
"Those variants have the ability to evade the immune system and the protections offered by that monovalent booster that many folks received earlier this year," Bondurant said. "And through some modern science and quite honestly medical marvel, we now have a bivalent booster that's specific to these genetic mutations in the Coronavirus itself and therefore offer additional protections moving into the fall."
Bivalent boosters contain components of the original COVID virus strain as well as the omicron variant.
The newest bivalent booster received emergency authorization from the FDA on September 1. Bondurant said vaccine science supports using boosters to prevent serious illnesses.
"The booster and what it offers, the protections are greater than the risk of what happens if you get COVID-19 or a severe complication with COVID-19," Bondurant said. "So especially those that are immunocompromised, they keep us safe and out of the hospital and keep us from experiencing severe outcomes with COVID-19."
Bondurant said the new bivalent booster would help protect the public from future genetic mutations of the virus.
Current, accurate case counts don’t exist because many people do not report positive results. But he said it's good news that people are using home tests and staying home when sick with COVID or other contagious illnesses.
"I think we all know somebody right now that probably has COVID or they're just getting over COVID,” Bondurant said. “And that was determined by an at-home test that was either given at a job site or picked up at one of our local pharmacies or stores."
The new COVID booster is available by appointment for people aged 12 and up at all three county health clinics.
Click here for information on clinic locations.