The situation around the COVID-19 pandemic continues to change nearly every day. It can be hard to keep track of current guidance and know what you should do to keep yourself and others safe. To help, we’ve broken down some of the most important updates and how they apply to Southwest Montana. Here’s what you should be aware of.
Montanans need to know these key new vaccine recommendations from the CDC. There’s no more waiting around for vaccination groups. It’s official: the CDC recommends booster shots for all adults, in addition to the initial shot(s) required for full vaccination. Just like getting a tetanus booster, a Covid booster can help you increase your immunity against the virus.
The type of booster shot you choose is totally up to you. The formulation of the booster shots is exactly the same as that of the original doses. With Moderna, Pfizer, and Johnson & Johnson all commonly available, you don’t have to stick to the same type as your initial vaccine. It’s safe to mix and match or choose the same.
The CDC has found that while vaccines worked well to fight the spread of Covid-19 initially, we’re starting to see a decrease in effectiveness against mild and moderate cases, especially in those 65 and older. However, those initial doses are still protective against hospitalization and death. Regardless of whether you get a booster or not, you’re still considered fully vaccinated two weeks after your second dose of Moderna or Pfizer, and your first dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.
Younger kids aren’t left out anymore. The CDC now recommends the two-dose pediatric Pfizer vaccine for children ages 5-11. This comes after rigorous testing to make sure that the vaccine is safe for all approved ages. For this age group, there’s a special reduced dosage. And it is part of one of the most studied and monitored vaccines in US history, especially where safety is concerned. In trials, side effects were mild and similar to the ones seen in adults. A sore arm was the most common.
This change comes as cases in younger children jumped from June through August with the Delta variant surge. Nearly five times as many kids were hospitalized in this timeframe compared to earlier months. And young children can die, be hospitalized, suffer from long-term symptoms for months, or deal with other complications from the virus. Getting vaccinated helps protect them. According to the CDC, the pediatric Pfizer vaccine is 91% effective at preventing Covid in this age group.
In West Yellowstone, you can schedule your vaccination appointment with your local CHP clinic. In Gallatin and Park counties, the county health departments give the most up-to-date information on vaccine locations and where to make appointments. You can often get the vaccine directly through your primary care provider at your next appointment, or at a nearby grocery store. With plenty of convenient locations out there, it’s easy to get your free booster.
There’s still a lot of misinformation out there about the COVID-19 vaccine, so if you have concerns or questions, you can learn more about a few of the vaccine myths with this Myths and Facts blog post. Have questions about your eligibility for the COVID-19 vaccine, or any other available vaccines? Schedule an appointment with a healthcare provider at your local CHP clinic today.