Bivalent COVID booster shots available to kids under 5 through the Coastal Health District

Published: Dec. 20, 2022 at 3:00 PM EST|Updated: Dec. 20, 2022 at 5:59 PM EST
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BRYAN COUNTY, Ga. (WTOC) - New vaccine options for kids aged 6 months and up are available through the Coastal Health District.

The bivalent vaccines target more than one COVID-19 variant.

With holiday gatherings around the corner, officials at the Coastal Health District are urging parents to get kids updated on their vaccinations as respiratory illnesses are still running high across the Peach State.

Children aged 6 months and up are now eligible for bivalent COVID vaccines through the Coastal Health District.

“If they’ve completed their primary series. They still have to complete the two dose primary series and then they’re eligible for the bivalent booster,” Bryan County Nurse Manager Laurie Mehlhorn said.

The updated vaccines target the original COVID strain plus two more recent omicron subvariants.

But, nurses at the Bryan County health office don’t expect a big demand to vaccinate the youngest residents. They say only 2 percent of kids aged 6 months to 4 years old in Bryan County have received at least one primary dose of the Covid vaccine.

“The people that we see have done their research, they’ve read about it, they’ve had family members affected by it -- whether it was someone very ill or someone that passed away. So they still take it very seriously,” Mehlhorn said.

Despite the expected low turnout in Bryan County, the Coastal Health District says demand for flu shots has remained strong since Thanksgiving.

The call to vaccinate comes ahead of expected holiday gatherings at a time when the Centers for Disease Control reports high flu activity in Georgia. The demand for pain and fever-reliving medicine for children is now so high that even national chains like CVS and Walgreens are limiting the amount people can purchase both in store and online.

“Keep your vaccines up to date, keep your hands washed, keep your distancing if you are having any symptoms of cold, flu or strep,” Mehlhorn said.

Mehlhorn said that if you are concerned about your child’s fever to contact their primary care physician.