CT towns urge residents to get updated COVID-19 shots
Local public health officials are advising residents to get their updated COVID-19 vaccine for the fall and winter 2023-2024 season, following the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) recent recommendation.
Orders for vaccines that were placed through the state should begin arriving in a couple of days, according to the Connecticut Department of Public Health.
In Fairfield County, Jody Bishop-Pullan, director of Health and Human Services at the Stamford Department of Health, said her team will soon share vaccine information on social media feeds as they wait for the vaccines to arrive.
“We have a community health workers going door to door to seniors,” Bishop-Pullan said. “We're very close to our partners in the faith-based community to get the information to them so that they can, in turn, distribute that information. We will be working with agency partners to coordinate clinics in the community.”
The town is expected to receive immunization-related media funding from the CDC by fall.
When it comes to getting people to take the updated shot, it's crucial to meet residents where they are, said Dr. Henry Yoon, chief medical officer for the City of Stamford. “We need to reduce as many barriers when it comes to communication,” he said. “They want to hear information from trusted sources.”
Health officials recommend getting the flu and the COVID-19 vaccines at the same time. “You may get local reactions for both but it is otherwise safe,” said Dr. Ulysses Wu, an infectious diseases specialist at Hartford HealthCare.
Those infected by COVID-19 can get the updated vaccine as soon as they are past their acute illness — at least 10-days, he said. “But since you have antibodies from your illness, they probably won’t begin to wane for several months. So one can start thinking about getting the booster 90 to 180 days after COVID.”
The CDC recommends that everyone six months and older should get their shot. Children aged six months through five years may need additional doses depending on their age, and the number of doses they’ve previously received.
“This is the time of year when respiratory viruses circulate, and we have the tools at our disposal to help protect ourselves,” Dr. Manisha Juthani, commissioner of the Connecticut Department of Public Health said. “With the start of the new school year, coupled with the fall season and spending more time indoors, there is no better time to receive this extra level of protection, which targets these variants and prevents transmission of this virus.”
The respiratory virus and flu season typically starts in October and peaks between December and February.
The federal COVID-19 vaccine distribution program will end this fall. But COVID-19 vaccines will be available at no cost through health insurance plans. Adults ages 18 to 64 without insurance and those whose insurance will not offer free COVID-19 vaccines are covered through the CDC’s Bridge Access Program for a limited time.