Mary Alice Reporting –

Optional vaccines are available for individuals, and this includes ones for COVID or influenza.

The Department of Health’s latest data on new COVID cases in the state, sees the state in a seven-week-long streak in consistently rising case numbers. The previous, 5,361 new COVID cases were reported. The last time new COVID cases were higher than 5,000 per week was in April.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Dr. Mandy Cohen says updated COVID vaccines are designed to combat new variants and it’s expected to be released mid-September, once regulation action is finalized.

In the meantime, Cohen recommends for those at higher risk of contracting the virus or those who have never received a dose to schedule an inoculation.

“Immunity is stronger today than at any other point in the outbreak. COVID-19 remains riskier if you’re unvaccinated and riskier still if you are unvaccinated and not have had COVID as a prior infection. Your age and underlying health conditions also matter.”

The CDC recommends that adults 60 and older get a single-dose RSV vaccine. Respiratory Syncytial Virus starts in fall and peaks in winter, and spreads easily through coughs, sneezes, and touch. Symptoms show up 4-6 days after being exposed.

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