The Brown County Health Department announced last week it has received the latest COVID-19 booster shot, the bivalent booster, for Moderna and Pfizer vaccines.
The Moderna vaccine is approved for those 18 years and older. Pfizer is approved for those 12 years and younger.
On Aug. 31 the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) authorized new booster shots known as a “bivalent” vaccines.
Until now, COVID-19 vaccines have targeted the original coronavirus strain, despite different variants emerging over the past two years.
The new U.S. boosters are combination, or “bivalent,” shots: one half is the original vaccine recipe and half is protection against the newest omicron versions, called BA.4 and BA.5, that are considered the most contagious so far.
The combination aims to increase cross-protection against multiple variants.
“The COVID-19 vaccines, including boosters, continue to save countless lives and prevent the most serious outcomes of COVID-19,” FDA Commissioner Robert M. Califf said.
“As we head into fall and begin to spend more time indoors, we strongly encourage anyone who is eligible to consider receiving a booster dose with a bivalent COVID-19 vaccine to provide better protection against currently circulating variants.”
In order to be eligible for the booster, individuals need to have completed the primary COVID vaccine series and be at least two months out from their last COVID vaccine.
Corey Frost, the county’s emergency health preparedness coordinator, said the response to the new booster shot has been strong, with a majority of individuals traveling from out of the county to get it.
The health department will continue to administer vaccines to residents, including children under 5, after the Indiana Department of Health announced vaccines for children ages 6 months to 5 years old are now available at some Indiana locations.
The health department no longer conducts COVID-19 testing due to a decrease in demand, according to a press release from the health department on June 28.
The health department is open 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday. Home tests can also be ordered by visiting covidtests.gov.
The Moderna and Pfizer vaccines for children under 5 received authorization from the Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control in May, according to an Indiana Department of Health release.
The Brown County Health Department, at 200 Hawthorne Drive, offers the Pfizer vaccine to children 6 months and older. To make an appointment call 211. Vaccinations are administered Monday through Friday from 1 to 3:20pm at the health department.
Residents will also soon be able to schedule appointments online at www.ourshot.in.gov.
Vaccines for those 5 and older are also available, including booster doses.
COVID-19 vaccines are available for free. IDOH does bill patient insurance and accepts whatever the insurance company pays for the vaccine services.
From Aug. 14 to Sept. 14, Brown County added 36 positive cases to the coronavirus.in.gov dashboard.
Frost said it is impossible to monitor the metrics due to at-home testing.
“There’s no way to quantify it,” Frost said.
One more death due to COVID has been reported in Brown County, making the total 62 lives lost since the pandemic began in March of 2020.
There have been 597 more residents who received their first dose of a coronavirus vaccine since Aug. 14, making more than 9,000 people partially vaccinated.
More than 8,500 people have been fully vaccinated since vaccines became available.
As of Sept. 13, there were two active COVID cases in Brown County Schools: one at Sprunica Elementary School and one at Brown County Middle School, according to the BCSC COVID dashboard.