To boost or not to boost, that is the question. Shakespeare couldn't have written it better. The irony of yet another COVID booster certainly wouldn't have been lost on the Bard of the Avon.

You now  need all the fingers on one hand to count all the COVID vaccinations now approved for use in the United States.  I remember when I anxiously got the first vaccination and proudly carried my vaccination card around with me everywhere.  In fact, in many places it was necessary.

Now, the cards are getting so big you almost need a binder to carry them around. Yesterday, the U.S. cleared yet another booster.  It is hoped that this booster will prevent a major winter outbreak of the newest variant of Covid that has caused a bit of a spike in cases worldwide.

Until now, COVID-19 vaccines have used the original coronavirus strain, even as wild new mutant variations have emerged. These new boosters are called "bivalent".  This means they contain half the original vaccine recipe and half protection against the newest omicron versions, BA.4 and BA.5.  These are the most contagious versions of the virus yet.

So, when will the doses of the new booster vaccine be available in San Angelo? A call to Shannon Health's COVID Hotline was answered with this response.  "As of now we have received no new guidance on when the shots will be available in San Angelo." Perhaps the question will come into sharper focus once the CDC advisory panel decides on recommendations for who should get the additional shot.  The panel begins debate on the issue today (September 1st)

So far, the government has purchased 170 million doses of the boosters and they say 15 million will be ready to ship in the coming days.

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Photo by Jeremy Bezanger on Unsplash
Photo by Jeremy Bezanger on Unsplash

The big question: will anyone really be ready to roll up their sleeves for yet another booster when experts agree that beyond a temporary jump in antibodies that might help fend off an omicron infection, it is unclear whether the shot offers any additional long-term protection.

This is especially true as cases in Tom Green County and San Angelo are returning to more "normal" levels after a June and July spike.  This also with all the news trending lately about Monkeypox which has pushed COVID-19 out of the headlines.

So, "To Boost or Not To Boost, That is the question".  At his point, as before, it comes down to choice. In the meantime, Shannon Health's COVID Hotline will most surely have the latest information about when the new boosters will be available in our area, and we'll also bring updates as needed. The Shannon Hotline number is: 844-6-SHANNON (844-674-2666).

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