Coastal Health District gives update on booster shots, COVID testing sites closing

Update on COVID-19
Update on COVID-19(Gray Television)
Published: Sep. 15, 2022 at 4:46 AM EDT
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SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - The new bi-valent booster shots aimed at protection against the latest COVID variants have been available for one week in Chatham County.

These tailed vaccines are now the only kind available for a booster shot after an initial series, while some people have been coming in to get theirs, they hope to have even more.

Remember anyone over 12 is eligible as long as it has been two months since your initial series or your last booster shot.

If you currently have COVID, experts recommend waiting 90 days to get the booster since you will still have protection from your infection.

Right now, Georgia is averaging about 3,000 COVID cases a week and nearly 90 percent of those are caused by the BA.5 variant.

Dr. Lawton Davis from the Coastal Health District says it is important to keep up with vaccines tailored to the latest variants to have a better chance of reaching herd immunity.

“That lowers the number of people or the pool available to become infected to allow the virus to sit there and churn and mutate and come up with even newer variants. There is already word of a BA.4.6 that seems to be even more contagious than BA.4 or BA.5,” said Dr. Davis.

Dr. Davis also pointed out that flu season is here so if you are looking to get your flu vaccine you can get it at the same time as the bivalent booster or initial COVID shot.

The Coastal Health District is moving to their new age of COVID-19 testing and starting to shut down locations. On Saturday the site in Glynn County is shutting down for good. All of the rest are still open for now – but more of these kiosks are popping up to fill that void.

Currently there are four locations in the Coastal Health District:

  • Glynn County Health Department in Brunswick
  • Southeast Georgia Physician Associates, Primary Care in Darien
  • Student Union at Georgia Southern Armstrong Campus in Savannah
  • Chatham County Health Department on Eisenhower Drive in Savannah

They will be adding one in Liberty County in about a week or two and hope to continue to add more as they become available. These are free and open 24/7 for testing.

The reason they started to shut down Glynn County testing site at Southeast Georgia Health System was twofold, giving them their space back after over a year and because of the demand– take a look at the drop off in numbers going back to July 4th all the way through last week.

Overall, in all counties, there hasn’t been a huge spike in testing since the start of this year.

Dr. Lawton Davis from the Coastal Health District says they still have funds available to keep their other sites open for the near future.

“You weigh cost and efficiency against the idea of giving up your infrastructure and there are still people who think we are going to have yet another wave and the demand may go back up and so we try to balance.”

Not only are the COVID Kiosks available but you can also go into any health district location across the coastal district and get free at-home tests to take with you in case you need one.