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9.22.22 – Is COVID Still Dangerous?

Hi, I’m Dr. Nilesh Kalyanaraman, the Health Officer for Anne Arundel County. Welcome to our Weekly Health Update. Fall is here which means that it’s time to get your flu shot. This year it’s also time to get your updated COVID booster shot.

Is COVID still dangerous?

COVID is still a dangerous illness. COVID causes severe illness, hospitalization and death. And COVID is still one of the 4 leading causes of death in the county this year. The good news is, we know more than ever about COVID and how to protect ourselves against it. Vaccines and boosters are the best defense. They don’t necessarily stop you from getting COVID, but they can prevent you from getting really sick.  High quality masks, testing, and treatment with medication are other important tools to protect us from COVID.

Why do I need this updated COVID booster if I got the COVID vaccine or had COVID already?

Our immunity against COVID goes down over time so we periodically have to boost our immunity. That’s why you can still get very sick from COVID if it’s been a while since your last vaccination or infection. Also, the virus continues to change and mutate, which means we need to stay vigilant and continuously protect ourselves. The updated COVID booster provides protection against the original COVID virus AND the Omicron variant. That’s the new addition to the vaccine and it’s the reason you should get your updated booster, for that targeted protection against Omicron.

Who should get the updated COVID booster?

Anyone 12 and older who had either their primary vaccine series or a booster should get the updated COVID booster 2 months after their last vaccination.

Do I still need the flu shot?

The influenza virus is different than the COVID virus, though they do cause similar symptoms. The influenza virus is constantly changing which is why there’s an updated flu vaccine each year in the fall. This season’s flu vaccine has been updated to protect against the strains currently circulating.

When should I get the flu shot?

September and October are generally good times to get vaccinated to provide immunity over the winter months. You can get the flu vaccine at the same time as the updated COVID booster.

Where can I get the updated COVID booster and the flu vaccine?

Pharmacies, your healthcare provider, and the Anne Arundel County Health Department are some of the places to get your updated COVID booster and flu vaccine. Our Health Department clinics are posted online at aahealth.org.

Stay safe and be kind to yourself and others. We’ll see you next week.

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