Springfield-Greene County Health Dept. waiting for new supply of COVID-19 vaccines
SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (Edited News Release/KY3) - As of September 12, the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) and the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) have authorized two new monovalent vaccines that are effective against currently circulating variants of SARS-CoV-2.
The updated Moderna and Pfizer vaccines are approved for those six months and older. According to the ACIP, everyone ages 5 and older should receive at least one dose of an updated COVID-19 mRNA vaccine this year.
With this authorization of the new formula, existing vaccine types are no longer authorized for individuals 12 years of age and older. Starting on Thursday, September 14, Springfield-Greene County Health temporarily halted COVID-19 vaccines to those in that demographic until the updated vaccines arrive.
The target date for that is the end of September but could be sooner.
“The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services says the updated vaccine should be available sometime during the next week but we don’t have an exact day,” said Dr. Nancy Yoon, the Chief Medical Officer for the Springfield-Greene County Health Department. “But it is recommended that everyone six months and older get this new vaccine even if they’ve had the previous boosters because these new vaccines have been updated for the latest variants.”
One change from the past though is that the Springfield-Greene County Health Department will not be offering COVID shots to everyone.
“Now that the vaccines are entering into a commercialization phase it’s going to be similar to the flu vaccine,” Yoon explained. “People will be able to go their providers or pharmacies to get these vaccines if they have health insurance. Because of the changes in funding the health department will only have supplies to offer for people who are uninsured or underinsured.”
Those with private or commercial insurance should visit Vaccine417.com to view other vaccine offerings in the community.
Certain individuals, including those who are immunocompromised or children under the age of 5, may require additional doses of the new vaccine. Individuals should contact their healthcare provider for specific recommendations as they apply to their situation.
The updated vaccines are arriving during a time when more people are questioning the product’s viability and tired of dealing with booster shots. On Thursday Florida Governor and presidential candidate Ron DeSantis posted that “we will not stand by and let the FDA and CDC use Floridians as guinea pigs for mRNA jabs that have not been proven to be safe or effective.”
The CDC contends the vaccinations are safe but the politicalization of COVID-19 has not gone away.
Even when it came to the previous booster shots, Greene County’s vaccination rate was well behind the state and national numbers.
“We didn’t have nearly as many people to receive those previous boosters as we would have liked,” Yoon said. “Even though we wish we didn’t need the vaccines they have great benefit, they’re one of the best innovations in public health and they’re safe.”
And while COVID has been referred to as an illness that should be viewed just like the flu now that the pandemic is over, COVID is still more dangerous.
“For some people it can have pretty serious and long-term consequences which is not always seen with the flu,” Yoon pointed out. “So there are similarities but also some differences.”
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