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Burke health department now has newest COVID-19 booster | Local News

Staff Writer

The Burke County Health Department now has doses of the newest COVID-19 vaccine as the county continues to see new cases of the virus.

The health department said it is now offering both the Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech bivalent COVID-19 booster dose. The booster dose protects against the original coronavirus strain as well as the Omicron BA.4 and BA.5 subvarients, which are currently the most prominent strains in the U.S.

Those receiving the Moderna bivalent booster must be at least 18 years old and those receiving the Pfizer BioNTech bivalent booster must be at least 12 years old.

People can’t receive the Moderna or Pfizer-BioNTech bivalent booster dose until at least two months have passed after completing their initial series of the vaccine. If someone has received their initial series along with previous booster dose(s) they must still wait at least two months before receiving their bivalent booster dose, the health department says.

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COVID-19 is still in Burke County and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows the county at a medium level of virus spread. People with symptoms, a positive test, or exposure to someone with COVID-19 should wear a mask.

The county health department reported on Thursday there are 183 active cases of COVID-19 and there have been 29,393 cumulative cases since the first case was reported on March 24, 2020. The health department has reported a total of 362 deaths in the county due to the virus.

UNC Health Blue Ridge reported Thursday it had 10 COVID-19 patients with one in the intensive care unit. It reported 42 patients in its COVID virtual hospital on Wednesday.

The health department said the newest COVID-19 booster, like all COVID-19 vaccines, is safe to get alongside the annual flu vaccine.

The health department said people also should consider getting their flu vaccine as early as this month to help build immunity before the virus becomes widespread in late fall and winter.

The Burke County Health Department offers COVID-19 vaccines every Friday from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. To make an appointment, call the department at 828-764-9150.

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