The Highland County Health Department is offering all COVID-19 vaccines and all doses, including both booster doses to those eligible, each Wednesday this month from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the department’s Walk-In-COVID-19 Vaccine Clinics.
Highland County Health Commissioner Jared Warner emphasized the importance of COVID-19 booster shots.
“The information we have received from the CDC shows that the protection that the vaccine offers can wane over time, and so there are recommendations out there for people to get boosters,” said Warner. “If people have questions about whether they need it or not, we encourage them to talk to their health care providers and have that conversation with them.”
Last week, the FDA released updated information for the second round of COVID-19 booster shots.
For those who have received the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, an initial booster shot is recommend for everyone 12 and older, and a second booster shot is recommended for adults 50 and over.
Adults 18 and older who have received the Moderna vaccine are recommended to have one booster, and adults 50 and over are recommended for the second booster — at least four months after the first booster.
All recipients of Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen vaccine who are 18 and older are recommended for the initial booster, and anyone who received this vaccine for both their primary dose and booster can get a second booster. Adults 50 and older who first received a Johnson & Johnson Janssen vaccine are eligible for a second booster regardless of what type of initial booster they received.
The Highland County Health Department’s Care-A-Van is offering COVID-19 vaccinations at various locations each Tuesday through Nov. 8. “We’ve got different stops all around the community to try to offer services in convenient places for those who are out in our rural areas,” said Warner.
The Care-A-Van will be at Joey’s Pizza in the Rocky Fork Lake area from 9-11 a.m. and at the Marshall Township Building from 12 p.m. to 2 p.m. the first Tuesday of each month.
The second Tuesday of each month the Care-A-Van will be at Greenfield Community Action from 9-11 a.m. and in Leesburg at the intersection of U.S. Route 62 and S.R. 28 from 12 p.m. to 2 p.m.
The third Tuesday of each month the Care-A-Van will be at the Buford Community Building from 9-11 a.m. and at the Allensburg Church of Christ from 12 p.m. to 2 p.m.
The Care-A-Van will stop at the Y Restaurant in Mowrystown from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. the fourth Tuesday of each month.
According to the Associated Press, U.S. health officials are still debating the best way to use vaccines to stay ahead of the coronavirus. A panel of U.S. vaccine experts met Wednesday, April 6 to discuss key questions for future COVID-19 booster campaigns.
Updating the vaccines to address new variants will require coordination between the FDA, manufacturers and global health authorities.
Twice a year, World Health Organization experts recommend updates to flu vaccines to target emerging strains. The FDA then brings those recommendations to its own vaccine panel, which votes on whether they make sense for the U.S. to allow manufacturers to modify their shots and begin mass production.
“There is a lot of discussion right now about the spacing in between the initial doses of COVID-19 vaccines, and I think what we are going to see over time is more and more information will become available about the frequency of shots and the spacing between doses, and we’ll get to a point where we have a consistent rhythm and recommendations,” said Warner. “I don’t know if we’ll have annual boosters — if that will be a thing — but it’s kind of looking that way similar to what we do with the flu shot, but we still have some things to figure out.”
Warner said the number of cases of COVID-19 in Highland County have decreased significantly.
“Case counts are really low, and we’re excited to see that,” he said. “There is a little bit of activity in certain parts of Ohio with the sub-variant of omicron, and it’s now identified as the more prevalent strain in our area so we could see a little bit of an increase in some of our case counts, but overall things are low, and we expect them to be low for the foreseeable future.”
Reach John Hackley at 937-402-2571.