UK doctors of pharmacy answer questions about Covid vaccines

By Amy Picirilli
University of Kentucky
The Covid-19 public-health emergency may be officially over, but Covid has not completely disappeared from concern. Lexington hospitals are seeing an increase in Covid patients.

With a new Covid vaccine coming this fall, two doctors of pharmacy at the University of Kentucky’s Pharmacist Care Clinic, Jim Hallahan and Ryan Babb, answer some questions you may have.

When will a new booster be available? The new booster is currently being developed. The Food and Drug Administration is expected to approve it by the end of August, with shots becoming available in late September or October.Who should get the new Covid vaccine? The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention‘s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices will provide guidance about who should get the vaccine when they approve it.

How will the new vaccine be different from what’s available now? Like the annual influenza vaccine, the new Covid vaccine will be targeted toward the strains of the virus that are most common in the community. In hopes of creating the broadest possible immunity for those who take the vaccine, this fall’s Covid vaccine is expected to be a monovalent formulation targeted toward the XBB.1.5 variant.”

I am over 65 and/or have serious health issues. Should I get another booster now, before the new vaccine is available? It is advised that patients continue receiving boosters as they are eligible. For additional help regarding the timing of your vaccine series, you can call the UK Pharmacist Care Team at 859-562-2018.

When will the new vaccine be available? New booster vaccines are expected to be available shortly after FDA and CDC approval, which is expected to be in September or October.

If I am fully vaccinated and previously received required boosters, do I need to get the new vaccine? We expect the CDC to recommend this new booster to all eligible individuals this fall, regardless of previous vaccine history. The new vaccine’s formulation was created to target virus strains that are currently most prevalent in the community, helping to boost your immunity and fight severe infection.

Will there be a combined flu-Covid shot this year? No. Although researchers are working on this, a combined vaccine won’t be available this year.

Can I get the Covid and flu vaccines at the same time? Yes, receiving both at the same time has been shown to be both safe and effective.

I’ve had Covid; do I still need to get boosters? Getting a Covid-19 vaccine after you recover from Covid-19 infection provides added protection against getting the disease again. You may consider delaying your vaccine by three months from when your symptoms started or, if you had no symptoms, when you received a positive test. If you are currently infected with COVID, you should not get vaccinated until your quarantine period has ended to avoid potentially exposing health care personnel and others during the vaccination visit.

What should I do if I have never been vaccinated? Please call your local pharmacist; they can provide you with information on how to get started.

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