Savannah doctor discusses new Covid-19 strains, accessibility of new vaccine

Published: Sep. 7, 2023 at 4:47 PM EDT
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SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - WTOC is hearing from a local doctor about a new COVID vaccine that could be available in our area in the coming weeks.

This comes as there’s been a slight surge in cases across Georgia. That surge has tapered off in the last week as there were 100 fewer cases reported by the department of health in Chatham County.

There are 13 people at Memorial with COVID, that’s just one less than when we checked in here a few weeks ago.

“I’ve had patients, this is their third or even fourth time they’re testing positive for COVID 19 and they’re definitely different strains of COVID.”

Right now Dr. Tim Connelly, and internal medicine specialist, says the Eris strain is predominately going around our area, which is in the Omicron family. But new strains are arising and mutating quickly.

“What’s happening is just when we get used to one, we get another one and our body hasn’t seen that so people are getting sick with it multiple times,” said Dr. Connelly.

What’s worrying Dr. Connelly is a new variant popping up called Pirola. He says it’s mutating rapidly and reminds him of the Omicron variant’s first appearance in winter of 2022.

Some symptoms are...

“Sore throat, some people are having that loss of sense of smell.”

He says a new vaccine that should be hitting the pharmacies and doctors offices in a few weeks is supposed to protect you more than the current one available. It will focus only on fighting the newest variants of COVID because the first form of the virus in 2020 doesn’t circulate often.

But, there are still some questions about how accessible the new vaccine will be.

“Whether it’s going to cost money or not, still has yet to be determined to some degree, how much the government is going to cover.”

He encourages anyone interested to get it. But he says you should wait if you’ve gotten vaccinated in the past six months.

With COVID still going around and mutating, another recommendation of his...

“Perhaps they have some kind of comorbid medical conditions that if they’re going to be in tight place, it absolutely might be a good idea to put a mask on and they’re less likely to get sick.”

Dr. Connelly says talking to your doctor about medication if you test positive for COVID is one of the most important things to do if you are immunocompromised.

WTOC also checked in with Chatham County pediatrician offices. They say they’ve seen a slight bump in children testing positive for COVID.