COVID-19 cases are surging again in Iowa and hospitalizations are at their highest point this year, up 30% over the past two weeks. And now with the potentially more transmittable Omicron variant of COVID-19, Iowans need to get vaccinated and be diligent during this holiday season to keep themselves and their families safe.
On the advice of public health officials, President Biden opened up booster shots to all adults in the United States. The Biden Administration also launched family vaccination clinics, which will provide both vaccines and boosters to entire families at one time. COVID vaccinations for kids 5-12 was approved by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) in early November.
As of December, over 4.27 million doses of the vaccine have been administered in Iowa, and 69.5 percent of Iowans 18 and older are vaccinated. To find a vaccination location near you, please visit: vaccinate.iowa.gov/.
The CDC allows patients and providers to mix and match dosing for booster shots. This means that if you received the first two doses of the Moderna vaccine, you can get a Pfizer or a Johnson & Johnson booster and vice versa. Mix and matching is only allowed for the booster dose, not the initial doses.
Public health officials expect the new variant to cause large outbreaks in the winter months as more people spend time indoors. President Biden has deployed over 60 emergency response teams to combat the expected rise in cases nationally. The President has also taken action to expand testing. Insurance companies will now be required to pay for at-home testing, and community health sites across the country will be given 50 million tests to hand out to individuals free of charge.
For more information on how to keep your family safe, go to: cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/index.html.