Avera Medical Minute: Latest COVID-19 vaccine update with Dr. Basel
SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (Dakota News Now) - We spoke with the Vice President of Clinical Quality for Avera Medical Group Dr. David Basel about the most recent booster shots and vaccines for young children.
What are we seeing any challengings in the hospitals right now, are there any cases?
“We’ve seen an increase in positive test results but hospitalizations have essentially doubled from a quite low level in June to a low moderate level, I’d say. This isn’t going away, we are still seeing a steady stream of patients coming in with COVID to the hospital still,” said Dr. Basel.
What do we know about the most recent variant?
“The most recent variant, I call them sub-varients of Omicron, especially BA.4 and BA.5. The good news is, compared to earlier strains, the hospitalization percentage isn’t as high. But that doesn’t mean that we aren’t seeing it,” said Dr. Basel.
Does that mean there is added concern with flu season coming upon us?
“I think almost everybody nationwide that I’ve been listening to is expecting the numbers to continue to increase through the Fall. Now, the hope is that we have enough people vaccinated that the vaccination numbers aren’t going to get nearly as high as in the last two years,” said Dr. Basel.
Absolutely. What about booster shots? We know that it’s definitely for underlying health conditions, what’s the recent decision on booster shots?
“Pretty much everybody is available for their first booster ages 5 and above at this point, and so anybody that has that primary series should get at least that first booster. It does seem that the first booster is important to solidifying that primary series,” said Dr. Basel.
What about Novavax the combo shot?
“That one we are expecting availability to have doses in hand in the next couple of weeks. It’s a more traditional vaccine technology, kind of what we have seen with other vaccines over the years, influenza and what have you,” said Dr. Basel.
“And so some people may be a little more comfortable with the older vaccine technology that has been around quite a few more years. It does seem like it’s effective at keeping patients out of the hospital, and so it very well could be an option if there are people out there that have been holding off getting vaccinated because they’re waiting for an older technology than certainly within the next week or two when we get some doses in would be the time to get vaccinated,” said Dr. Basel.
What are some steps we can do to be preventative here and do everything we can to protect ourselves and everyone else?
“As the numbers start to come up again just like they have the last two falls, probably the number one thing is the days of, “Oh, I’ve got a little bit of a cough or cold I’m just going to keep going to work or school or whatever and push through it,” a lot of these cases of Omicron are a little bit milder and you might feel well enough to push through,” said Dr. Basel.
“Now is the time, it’s important to keep a couple of those home tests on hand, so that you can get tested, to make sure you don’t have Omicron, and that you’re not spreading it to other people,” said Dr. Basel.
“There’s no doubt that the vaccination provides better protection, still now is the time to get the real little children vaccinated, so that age 6 months to 5 years old, we still have plenty of vaccines on hand, it takes a good couple of months to get that protection established,” said Dr. Basel.
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