COVID vaccine boosters available in Marshall County
For individuals who have received two shots of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine, it may be time to start checking on whether or not they are eligible for a booster shot.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend recipients of the Pfizer vaccine to get a third shot 6 months after their second dose if they are 65 years of age or older, long-term care residents or in the 50-64 age range with underlying medical conditions.
According to the CDC, those who received the Pfizer vaccine may get a booster shot if they are between 18 and 49 years old with underlying medical conditions or between 18 and 64 years old and at an increased risk of COVID exposure because of occupation or living in an institutional setting.
County Public Health Director Pat Thompson suggested that line workers such as those at JBS should consider taking a booster shot because they would be considered at an increased risk of COVID exposure due to their occupations.
“When you can, get it just like you would with the seasonal flu shot,” Thompson said. “Get it when it’s due for you. It’s an added layer of protection, and if you’ve gone through the first two shots already with Pfizer, finish it out with the third one.”
People who were vaccinated with the Moderna or Johnson and Johnson versions may still need a booster, but research has not determined if it is necessary yet. In the meantime, Thompson recommends continuing with the same mitigation efforts that have been encouraged throughout the pandemic, including staying home when sick, covering coughs, washing hands frequently and social distancing when possible.
It’s unclear if COVID booster shots will be necessary beyond the six month mark, but Thompson said she could foresee boosters being treated similarly to the flu shot each year.
“I see that as something we’ll be looking at every year because it’s a new virus, and we need to stay on top of it,” she said. “They may be working on that already. H1N1 in 2009 is still part of the seasonal flu vaccine.”
Thompson doesn’t believe a COVID vaccine would be included in a seasonal flu shot like the H1N1 vaccine, though she said it would be great if it could be combined.
There is currently no shortage in the supply of booster shots, and McFarland Clinic has been administering shots and holding booster clinics for more than three weeks. Those who are eligible for a booster shot are encouraged to contact their healthcare provider or check with a pharmacist.
There have been 3.5 million COVID vaccine doses administered statewide, with more than 66 percent of people 18 or older fully vaccinated and 69 percent of children 12 and up taking at least one shot, according to the Iowa Department of Public Health. In Marshall County, more than 70 percent of residents ages 18 and older are fully vaccinated, and 73 percent of children 12 and older have received at least one dose. Pfizer is the most widely administered vaccine in Iowa with more than 1.9 million doses.
The county recorded another death in the last week, bringing its total to 84, and 94 COVID-related deaths were recorded across the state. Since the start of the pandemic, 6,748 people have died with COVID-19 in Iowa.
Hospitalizations have slowed somewhat: there are 598 patients hospitalized with COVID-19, including 89 admitted in the last 24 hours. Intensive care cases are up though, with 150 total patients. Eighty-four percent of ICU patients are not fully vaccinated, and 79 percent of all hospital patients are hospitalized because of COVID-19. Only about 26 percent of inpatient hospital beds are currently available.
COVID-19 IN MARSHALL COUNTY
• Seven day percent of positive test rate: 4 percent
• Seven day number of cases: 100
• CDC transmission level: HIGH
• Fully vaccinated: 70 percent
• New deaths this week: 1
• Total deaths: 84
Contact Joe Fisher at firstname.lastname@example.org.