Ozarks Healthcare to offer Bivalent COVID-19 Boosters, Flu Vaccines Sept. 20
Bivalent COVID-19 boosters and flu vaccines will be available at Ozarks Healthcare’s Pharmacy at 307 N. Kentucky Ave. in West Plains on Tuesday, Sept. 20, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Bivalent COVID-19 boosters are the latest authorized booster vaccines designed to protect against the latest Omicron variant of COVID-19.
“We will be offering bivalent Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 boosters at our pharmacy soon,” Katie Mahan, Director of Ozarks Healthcare’s Pharmacy, said. “The original strain of COVID-19 and two of the Omicron subvariants (BA.4 and BA.5) are currently the most widely spread variants across the globe. Bivalent boosters are proving to be our best form of protection for the recommended age groups as we head into fall and cooler temperatures, which often lead to an increased spread of viruses and respiratory diseases. We encourage our community to help us make this a better season than years past by protecting themselves against COVID-19 and the flu with vaccination.”
The Pfizer bivalent booster is currently authorized for ages 12 and older while the Moderna is currently authorized for 18 years of age and older. Individuals are eligible for the bivalent booster two months since their last primary or booster dose of Pfizer, Moderna or Johnson & Johnson. (Ozarks Healthcare is not currently administering the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.)
Primary doses of COVID-19 vaccines will not be available at the Ozarks Healthcare Pharmacy on Sept. 20, however, as a reminder, two primary doses of Moderna are recommended for ages 12 and older, administered at least 28 days apart. A third dose of the Moderna vaccine may be administered for certain individuals 12 years and older with moderate to a severe immune compromise.
Two primary doses of Pfizer are recommended for ages 12 and older, administered at least 21 days apart. A third dose of the Pfizer vaccine may be administered for certain individuals 12 years and older with moderate to a severe immune compromise.
Age-appropriate primary doses of COVID-19 vaccines are recommended for those as young as six months. For specific guidelines for any age group, individuals are asked to contact their primary care provider or visit https://covidvaccine.mo.gov/facts/ for more information.
Seasonal flu vaccines are designed to protect against the influenza viruses that research indicates will be most common during the upcoming season. Per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), all flu vaccines in the U.S. are “quadrivalent” vaccines, which means they protect against four different flu viruses: an influenza A(H1N1) virus, an influenza A(H3N2) virus, and two influenza B viruses. Individuals six months and older in the U.S. are recommended to get an influenza (flu) vaccine every season with rare exception.
“September and October are generally good months to get the flu vaccine to prepare for the flu season ahead,” Mahan said. “Ideally, everyone should be vaccinated by the end of October for best protection.”
For those 65 and older, three of the available flu vaccines may be more effective: the Fluzone High-Dose Quadrivalent vaccine, Flublok Quadrivalent recombinant flu vaccine, and Fluad Quadrivalent adjuvanted flu vaccine. Those in this age group are encouraged to visit with their primary care providers or pharmacists about these options. There is no preferential flu vaccine recommendation for people younger than 65 years. Flu vaccines can be administered at the same time as COVID-19 vaccines.
Those seeking bivalent COVID-19 boosters or flu vaccines may walk in at Ozarks Healthcare’s Pharmacy at 307 N. Kentucky Ave. in West Plains on Tuesday, Sept. 20, between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. Individuals are asked to bring COVID-19 vaccination and insurance cards. For more information, pharmacy staff may be reached at 417-256-7533 or 417-256-1793.
Ozarks Healthcare is a system of care encompassing primary care and specialty clinics, along with complete rehabilitation, behavioral healthcare, and home health services. While the 114-bed acute care hospital cares for more than 5,400 admissions, the entire health system has more than 364,000 patient visits annually in South Central Missouri and Northern Arkansas. For more information about Ozarks Healthcare, visit www.OzarksHealthcare.com.