Savannah doctor discusses new Covid-19 booster shot

Published: Sep. 1, 2022 at 3:46 PM EDT
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SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - The first of its kind, a booster vaccine targeting the Omicron Variant. Dr. Tim Connelly at Memorial Health says it’s vital for limiting the spread of COVID 19 this fall and winter.

“It’s very likely if enough people get it to significantly lesson the blow that we may experience.”

58% of people in Chatham County are fully vaccinated. 46% of people fully vaccinated have gotten an additional dose including a booster, according to the Center for Disease Control.

The new vaccine, according to Dr. Connelly is about 5% more effective than the previous one with a roughly 90% efficacy rate of not being hospitalized with the virus.

“The tweaks are very minor to the vaccine that we’re getting.”

The vaccine recently approved by the FDA is made up 50% of the original vaccine and the other half is geared towards the Omicron subvariants, says Dr. Connelly.

The Omicron BA.5 and BA.4 variants are still the most prevalent variant circulating right now but with new variants mutating often...

“We can get different variants and the shot’s likely to be very effective against those variants. The only reason we needed to updated is after approximately two years of COVID finally we found a variant where it actually beat the vaccine in terms of having a slightly different spike protein.”

COVID cases in Memorial and our area on a downwards trend, according to Dr. Connelly. He says they have one person in the ICU and less than 30 people hospitalized overall.

He says it’s important to wait two months between each booster shot to prevent illness.

And adds it’s safe to get the flu and COVID vaccine at the same time.

Dr. Connelly says the vaccine could be available across the Coastal Empire in about four to six weeks.