COVID-19 case spike could mean updating your vaccination record
PEORIA (Heart of Illinois ABC) - COVID-19 cases both across Illinois and nationwide are increasing once again, which might mean it’s time to check on how many vaccine doses you should get.
In Peoria and Tazewell counties, the Illinois Department of Public Health is reporting high levels of community infection. The Tazewell County Health Department cites a rate of 50 new cases a week, compared to 10 in April. That’s as the new omicron subvariant leads widespread infections going into the summer.
“The variants are becoming certainly less lethal, but more transmissible,” says Dr. John Wieland, the Chief Medical Officer at Carle Health.
As the spike continues to gain strength, health experts are encouraging residents to get up-to-date on vaccinations for your age group. That’s especially due immunity wearing out a short time after receiving your shots.
But there’s good news for those who may need extra protection. The CDC has announced both adults 50 and older and those 12 and older who are immunocompromised can now get a second booster. That also comes as those five to 11 years old can receive a dose of the Pfizer vaccine. But beyond that, there is no guidance on getting any more.
“You start to see that waning immunity after several months, so this is a way to give that younger group the benefit of a booster,” comments Alice Driscoll, the Regional Director of Pharmacy at UnityPoint Health.
Close to two and a half years into the pandemic, the question is now if a more regular frequency of vaccinations will become the new normal.
“It’s really hard to predict, this is really uncharted territory for us,” says Angie Phillips, Director of Clinical Services at the Tazewell County Health Department. “We know there’s a lot of research going on right now.”
As for if more vaccines will be needed in the future, experts say a lot continues to change.
“We’ll just have to wait to see what variants are out there, how long this continues,” adds Driscoll.
All the professionals we spoke with tell us they continue to encourage vaccinations as the most effective way to both protect yourself and mitigate the spread against the virus.
Copyright 2022 Heart of Illinois ABC. All rights reserved.