Two weeks after the federal government signed off on a booster vaccine for Covid-19 that targets the most common strains of the virus, clinics and health care providers in southwestern Pennsylvania have begun giving the shots to eligible recipients.

The newly approved bivalent vaccines are boosters that specifically target the omicron variant BA.4 and BA.5 strains.

The Moderna bivalent vaccine is approved for people who are 18 years of age or older and have had at least two months of recent immunizations. The Pfizer bivalent vaccine is approved for anyone who is 12 years of age or older and is at least two months removed from their most recent dose.

Allegheny County Health Director Dr. Debra Bogen urged anyone who is eligible to get the vaccine.

“Getting vaccinated and protected against Covid-19 is the most effective way to protect yourself from serious illness or death from the virus,” Bogen said Tuesday.

UPMC plans Start releasing information planning bivalent booster doses, and AHN has started scheduling. bivalent stimuli. Ecla Health in Westmoreland County is not offering any Covid-19 vaccines. On which side the portal provides Patients can find a vaccination provider.

Dr. Amesh Adalja, a Pittsburgh-based infectious disease and critical care specialist, shares his thoughts on what to know about the new vaccines, including whether to get your annual flu shot at the same time.

Question: Should people getting their next covid booster get the flu shot at the same time or is it too early for the flu shot?

Answer: “Flu vaccines must be given seasonally to be most effective. In general, I recommend that individuals get vaccinated around the end of October. There is evidence that the effectiveness of the flu vaccine declines around that time, which is typically around February.”

“Ideally, people should get the flu shot when it’s most contagious. However, if now is the only time a person gets the flu shot, it’s better than never.

Q: What makes this promotion different from its predecessors? What should people know about this?

A: “This boost includes protection in addition to the ancestral protection of BA.4/BA.5 omicron variants (Covid-19).”

Q: Should children who have had a particularly adverse reaction to the vaccine, including myocarditis, receive boosters?

A: “In general, I think incentives should be targeted at those most likely to benefit, and for the pediatric population, I think only high-risk children will have a significant developmental benefit. Sufficient time has passed since the last dose of vaccine to reduce the risk in children with myocarditis.”

Q: Recent boosters have not been tested on humans. How do we know they are safe?

A: “The boosters use the same technology as other vaccines and there is no biological reason to believe there is a safety risk to them.”

Q: Should everyone get the latest boost?

A: “Again, I believe incentives will benefit those at higher risk of chronic disease, such as the elderly and those with chronic disease. These groups are where updated motivation can be most useful. As such, I recommend adding high-risk people (especially those who have never been added). For the general healthy population, the benefit may be small and temporary (as with early boosters).

Megan Guza is a staff writer for the Tribune-Review. You can contact Megan by email at or on Twitter. .

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