State well being officers suggest COVID boosters, flu photographs this fall


A bundle of syringes in a white box
Syringes for the COVID-19 vaccine at a clinic in East Anchorage on Aug. 3, 2021. (Lex Treinen/Alaska Public Media)

State well being officers are encouraging Alaskans to get up to date COVID boosters and flu photographs forward of flu season.

The brand new bivalent booster – which will increase safety towards each the omicron variant and the unique coronavirus – has been out there for nearly two weeks. In a public well being presentation Wednesday, state epidemiologist Sarah Aho mentioned roughly 8,000 doses have been given to this point.

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“That’s not a huge number. We’re hoping for lots more in the coming months,” she mentioned. “And if you compare that to people who’ve received the primary series in Alaska for the COVID vaccine, that’s over 440,000 people.”

The state Division of Well being is working with tribal organizations and native suppliers to get boosters and different medical provides out to rural communities, together with these in Western Alaska impacted by final weekend’s storm. 

“Airports are in good shape, with just some minor problems in a few areas with lighting and such, so supply movement should be unhindered except normal Alaska weather,” mentioned Gene Wiseman, part chief of rural and neighborhood well being programs for the state’s Division of Public Well being.

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Well being officers mentioned COVID-related hospitalizations proceed to go down in Alaska and throughout the nation.

Epidemiologists are utilizing hospital knowledge to measure the severity of outbreaks relatively than case numbers, since few at-home COVID take a look at outcomes get reported to the state.

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Nonetheless, state doctor Dr. Lisa Rabinowitz mentioned getting boosted is worth it. In June 2022, unvaccinated adults have been greater than 4 occasions extra prone to be hospitalized with COVID in comparison with those that’d had no less than one booster.

“That tells us that vaccines continue to protect against severe illness, hospitalization and death,” Rabinowitz mentioned.

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