Updated COVID-19 booster shots are expected to be available next week as local health departments and pharmacies wait on their shipments from manufacturers.
The Centers for Disease Control endorsed the boosters, recommending the Pfizer-BioNTech booster for people ages 12 years and older and the booster from Moderna for people ages 18 years and older.
The boosters target the more prevalent Omicron subvariants BA.4 and BA.5 with the hope of restoring protection against the virus—protection that has waned due the transmission of new variants.
“The updated COVID-19 boosters are formulated to better protect against the most recently circulating COVID-19 variant,” CDC Director Dr. Rochelle P. Walensky said in a statement. “They can help restore protection that has waned since previous vaccination and were designed to provide broader protection against newer variants. This recommendation followed a comprehensive scientific evaluation and robust scientific discussion. If you are eligible, there is no bad time to get your COVID-19 booster and I strongly encourage you to receive it.”
Dan Suffoletto, public information manager for Public Health - Dayton & Montgomery County, said the department expects to receive and begin distributing the new boosters next week.
“They’re starting to ship now,” Suffoletto said. He added there may be a delay in the shipping process due to the Labor Day holiday.
On Thursday, the state reported an increase of COVID-19 case for the first time in five weeks. Ohio recorded 25,280 cases in the past week, according to the Ohio Department of Health. Last Thursday, the state added 23,436 cases.
ICU admissions were also up in the state. Ohio reported 39 weekly ICU admissions, compared to 36 in the previous week.
While the state recorded an increase in COVID cases, seven Dayton-region counties saw decreases through the CDC’s COVID-19 community levels.
Butler, Clark, Darke, and Greene counties moved to the medium CDC community level, and Champaign, Miami and Warren counties moved to low. Preble County went back up to a high COVID spread, where Montgomery County has been since July.
“We’re happy any time those numbers start to go down,” said Laurie Fox, public information officer for Greene County Public Health. She said they are still being cautious, though, due to fall and flu season approaching.
“With fall comes people gathering back in doors,” Fox said.
Individuals should still continue to wash their hands often, stay home if they are sick, and get tested if they have COVID symptoms. For those who are immunocompromised or considered high-risk for getting a severe illness from COVID-19, Fox recommended those individuals consider continuing to wear a face mask indoors.
“Everybody handles the virus differently,” Fox said. “You just don’t know until you get it.”
In Montgomery County, the two-week incident case rate decreased from 418.7 per 100,000 last week to 390.8 per 100,000 this week. The two-week incident rate (390.8 per 100,000) is more than 1.5 times lower than the rate this time last year (686.1 per 100,000).
“The case rate over the past two weeks has decreased slightly,” said Suffoletto. The county is still at a high level due to hospitalizations and hospital capacity, but health officials are hopeful the decrease in cases in the region will spread throughout the state.