New shipments of COVID vaccines specifically designed for the latest variant of the virus have arrived in the metro area, providing hope for increased protection against the ongoing pandemic. A pharmacist in Raytown reported that his store received boxes of the vaccine on Monday, although the current supply is limited with more doses expected soon.
The arrival of these new vaccines comes at a time when there is a notable uptick in COVID cases. The University of Kansas Health System currently has 19 COVID patients, a significant increase compared to the low number of two in July. While these vaccines may not fully prevent infection, they provide an immune boost, allowing individuals to significantly reduce the severity of the disease.
According to Dr. Dana Hawkinson, an Infectious Disease Specialist with the University of Kansas Health System, many hospitalized patients have pre-existing conditions that make them more vulnerable to COVID. However, vaccinated individuals tend to fare better when fighting off the virus. Despite the challenges of obtaining vaccinations, such as vaccination fatigue and difficulty scheduling appointments, Dr. Hawkinson emphasizes the importance of making the extra effort to get vaccinated, as it ultimately provides long-term protection.
In addition to COVID, medical experts anticipate a rise in other respiratory illnesses such as Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) and the flu as fall progresses towards Thanksgiving. RSV particularly affects babies under a year old and seniors. However, there is now a vaccine available for RSV. Seniors are advised to receive this vaccine alongside their COVID and flu vaccinations, and it is also recommended for them to get the pneumonia and shingles vaccines. Notably, the RSV vaccine given to pregnant women in their third trimester can prevent RSV disease in infants for 5 to 6 months by transferring antibodies from the mother to the baby.
Dr. Mary Anne Jackson, Dean of the University of Missouri, Kansas City Medical School, expresses her excitement over the prevention of RSV through vaccination, as it was previously considered a disease that could not be prevented by vaccines. Dr. Jackson herself has received the new COVID vaccine, and she strongly urges individuals who are at high risk, such as seniors with underlying health conditions, to proceed with vaccination without hesitation.
These vaccines are considered safe for anyone aged six months and older. Given that children are known to spread the virus, it is especially important for them to be vaccinated in order to protect themselves and others from the ongoing threat of COVID.
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