Pharmacists prepare for newly approved COVID-19 vaccines

ORLANDO, Fla. — Ahead of a new cold and flu season, the FDA approved new formulations for the mRNA vaccines. One local pharmacist says she is seeing about 20 new appointments a day for vaccinations.

What You Need To Know

  •  The new formulas are for the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, which have been updated to fight the Omicron variant
  •  People 6 months or older are eligible to get vaccinated, though the number of doses depend on the type of vaccine and the individual’s vaccination history
  • Besides getting the flu and COVID shot, people 65 and older are encouraged to get vaccinated against RSV when they head to the pharmacy

The latest data from the CDC shows Florida is the only state with a “medium” level of COVID-19 hospital admissions, the highest rate right now in the country. For the week ending on Sept. 2, 2,536 people were admitted to Florida hospitals with a confirmed COVID-19 status.

Nationwide, weekly COVID-19 death rates have increased since July, though these numbers are still down compared to the last peak in January.

Source: CDC

The FDA has approved new formulations for the COVID-19 vaccine ahead of this cold and flu season. These new formulas have a single component updated to fight the Omicron variant.

“Viruses mutate,” explained Dr. Maxine Wilkerson, a CVS pharmacy manager. “At this time, when you think of coming in for your flu shot, you might as well get your COVID (vaccine) as well, so that your lungs are protected against both viruses.”

People above the age of 6 months old can get vaccinated, though the number of doses varies based on the type of vaccine and when you may have received previous shots.

Data collected from the Florida Department of Health shows that people are more likely to get vaccinated as they increase in age. The data shows that 94% of Floridians 65 or older have been vaccinated since the start of the pandemic.

Meanwhile, Florida’s surgeon general warned against younger adults getting the COVID vaccine. This comes despite that the vaccine is backed by professionals nationwide, including those with CDC, FDA, and World Health Organization.

Pharmacists say if you have any questions about the vaccine, speak with your doctor.

“I would encourage people to speak to a health care professional that they trust, a health care professional that knows their full story and can make a judgment based off them,” said Wilkerson.

Wilkerson says you shouldn’t experience any significant side effects from the vaccine, but if you get any soreness, you can still take ibuprofen.

If you’re above the age of 65, pharmacists say that besides getting a flu and COVID shot, it may be time to get an RSV shot as well.

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