The Perfect Enemy | Get a flu shot with your updated COVID booster, King County health officials urge
September 29, 2022

Get a flu shot with your updated COVID booster, King County health officials urge

Get a flu shot with your updated COVID booster, King County health officials urge  The Seattle Times

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As summer wanes into fall, new COVID-19 boosters are here — and local public health authorities want you to get vaxxed. 

Again? You might be thinking. 

Yes, again. 

“COVID-19 has evolved. It’s evolved new variants that can damage some of the immunity we get from both past infections as well as our [earlier] vaccinations,” Dr. Jeff Duchin, health officer with Public Health – Seattle & King County, said in a briefing Tuesday. 

“Even if you’ve had a booster in the past, all recommended booster doses are important for maximum protection.”

Community transmission is relatively low in King County, with about 100 new cases per 100,000 residents in the past week. Back in May, the rate was nearly four times higher. 

The new booster is a bivalent vaccine, meaning the original COVID-19 vaccine formula plus the BA. 4 and BA. 5 spike protein components, which together provide additional protection by targeting the omicron subvariants that are more transmissible. 

This week an initial allocation of 191,100 bivalent booster doses is en route to providers throughout the state and is now available for scheduling. Officials recommend anyone 12 and older who has already received their initial vaccine series sign up for a booster appointment with their health provider or local pharmacy.

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You’re most likely eligible for a new booster now, but for immunocompromised people or children under 5, officials recommend waiting a few months after completing your primary vaccination series. 

Residents can consult the state’s Vaccine Locator or call the COVID Information Hotline, 800-525-0127, for more information or help finding a vaccination site.

While you’re at your local CVS or doctor’s office, consider getting your flu shot as well, officials urged. County health officials have been keeping an eye on influenza by monitoring current outbreaks in New Zealand and Australia. That gives health officials a clue that our flu season may be stronger. 

“After the relatively quiet seasons that we’ve had the last few years with little influenza circulating, it’s quite possible that the reintroduction of influenza will be more severe because lots of people haven’t seen flu for a couple of years and therefore their immune systems just aren’t primed and ready for it,” Duchin said. 

He suggests one shot for the flu in one arm and a COVID booster shot in the other, if possible.

Officials also gave an update Tuesday on the spread of monkeypox in King County: As with COVID, the spread of the monkeypox virus is on the decline in the county, with one case this month so far, down from a peak of 64 cases during the last week of July. 

In total, 383 cases have been reported in the county, namely among men who have sex with men. In one rare case, an infant was reported infected with monkeypox last month. 

For people at risk of contracting monkeypox, there will be a vaccination clinic on Saturday at Seattle Central College that will provide both first and second doses.