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Keeping Up on the Latest COVID-19 Developments

Keeping Up on the Latest COVID-19 Developments



Are you tired of COVID-19 news and wish it would all just go away? You certainly aren’t alone! As we head into the fourth year of dealing with COVID-19, it’s understandable that some people have let down their guard and don’t want to be reminded that it’s still a major concern. In fact, with many parts of the country experiencing surging numbers, it appears that this winter could pose more of a threat than last year. All the more reason to recommit to some of the habits you’ve had in place for several years now that will help keep you safe while new variants are circulating.

The most important thing to know is there is a new vaccine available that helps protect against the currently circulating variants, including BA.2.86. This vaccine is available at most pharmacies and clinics, and the cost is covered by all health insurance plans. (NOTE: you may have heard about billing glitches and people being charged $100 or more for their vaccine during the first few days of the roll-out. Those have almost entirely been resolved now.) Now is the time to schedule both your COVID-19 booster and your annual flu shot. This is the best step you can take to protect your health this winter.

COVID-19 continues to change, and the protection offered by the vaccine declines over time. That’s why getting the latest vaccine is so important. By now most people have tested positive for COVID at least once, and some are questioning the importance of the vaccine if it doesn’t offer 100% protection. But consider this: according to the CDC, “Last season those who received a 2022-2023 COVID-19 vaccine saw greater protection against illness and hospitalization than those who did not receive {it}”. The CDC also reminds us that “hundreds of millions of people have safely received a COVID-19 vaccine under the most intense safety monitoring in U.S history.” In short, the vaccine is thoroughly tested, very safe, and the most effective tool we have at our disposal for protecting ourselves, our families, and our communities from more widespread outbreaks, serious illness, and hospitalization.

The CDC as well as nearly all health care providers and professionals recommend that everyone over the age of six months get an updated vaccine as soon as possible, especially if it’s been more than a year since your last vaccine. This is especially critical for anybody age 50 plus, and those with compromised immune systems and other chronic conditions.

It’s also important to continue to test and isolate if you think you might have COVID-19. If you do test positive, make sure you stay home and isolate for at least five days. And if you do get sick, call your doctor to ask about proven and effective treatments, including Paxlovid. Getting immediate treatment can reduce the severity of your illness, and reduce the risk of hospitalization, long term effects, and even death.

Learn more about the latest developments and guidelines.

Schedule a COVID-19 vaccine at El Camino Health.


This article first appeared in the October 2023 edition of the HealthPerks newsletter.

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