Medical professionals encourage vaccinations ahead of bivalent booster release

Moderna, Pfizer to release Bivalent Booster this fall
Moderna, Pfizer to release Bivalent Booster this fall(WVVA)
Published: Aug. 8, 2022 at 3:13 PM EDT
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BECKLEY, W.Va. (WVVA) - Last month, the Biden Administration announced that 171 million doses of a new Covid booster had been purchased. The administration designated $10 billion in funding for additional vaccines and response efforts.

This new shot, known as the bivalent booster, will not only target the original virus strain, but also two Omicron antigens, BA.4 and BA.5.

“This new booster that targets variants would be much more efficient preventing Covid than that original vaccine,” shared Dr. Peter Stoilov, Associate Professor of Biochemistry at West Virginia University (WVU).

“We need this booster if we want to control this epidemic.”

As they wait for the booster’s roll out this fall, medical experts in the two Virginias are still urging people to get vaccinated. According to data from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), just more than 67 percent of Americans are fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

“Especially with the new variants appearing, it’s important to stay on top of your vaccines,” said Allie Phillips, Population Health Manager of the Lenowisco and Cumberland Plateau Health Districts in Virginia. “These vaccines are what’s going to help us, you know, protect others, protect ourselves, keep individuals out of the hospital, keep death rates down, so just getting vaccinated and, also, getting boosters is super important, as well.”

Phillips says she can’t speak for all of the Commonwealth, but as far as the southwest portion of Virginia, vaccines rates are not as high as they’d like.

WVVA also spoke to West Virginia Covid Czar and WVU’s Chief Health Officer, Dr. Clay Marsh, who says the same for The Mountain State.

“Obviously, our vaccination rates are not where we would like them to be related to the benefit of a healthy population,” he said. “We know that long Covid is getting to be a real challenge with the estimation of today 7.7 to 23 million Americans who may be suffering from long Covid.”

The bivalent booster is currently being manufactured by Moderna and Pfizer and is set to be released in September. Both companies are said to be releasing additional doses of the booster in the coming months.

For now, federal health officials are still deciding to whom the shot will be available.

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