COVID-19 Vaccine Update

(Audubon, IA) The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently authorized booster shots to now include all adults ages 18 years and older who received a primary mRNA COVID-19 vaccine series (Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna) at least six months after the primary series. Prior to this authorization, eligibility had been limited to individuals ages 65 and older and those with underlying health conditions or who lived or worked in environments that placed them at high risk. Those who received a single shot of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine are already eligible for a booster two months after their initial dose.

While fewer children have been sick with COVID-19 compared to adults, children can be infected with the virus, and there is no way to tell in advance if a child will get a severe or mild case. After a natural infection, some children have developed a rare but serious disease that is linked to COVID-19 called multisystem inflammatory syndrome (MIS-C). Since the beginning of the pandemic, 63 cases of MIS-C have been reported to the Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH). Children 5 to 11 years of age are now eligible for the pediatric Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine. Adolescents 12 to 17 years of age are also eligible for the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine. Children or adolescents under the age of 18 are currently not eligible for the booster dose of the vaccine.

One month into flu season, IDPH urges Iowans to get their flu vaccines as soon as possible. Flu activity in the state is still low, but cases have increased in the last week. Both the flu and COVID-19 vaccines are highly effective at preventing severe illness, hospitalization, and death from these viruses. By getting vaccinated for both influenza and COVID-19, we can prevent avoidable hospitalizations and help preserve health care resources for other needs, including illnesses, injuries, and emergencies. Iowans with questions about vaccines for themselves or loved ones are advised to consult with their health care provider.

Getting vaccinated now will provide more protection in advance of winter holiday gatherings. Top priority should continue to be vaccination of unvaccinated individuals.

If you are eligible and would like to receive a COVID-19 booster, you can schedule an appointment to receive your booster by calling Audubon Public Health at 712-563-2226. The next COVID vaccine booster clinic will be held on December 1, 2021 from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. at Audubon County Memorial Hospital. Children or adolescents ages 5 to 17 can be scheduled by calling the Audubon Family Health Clinic directly at 712-563-4611 to schedule an appointment. You can also receive your flu vaccination at this same time.