HELENA — The most recent Covid-19 booster is now available for those who have received their preliminary vaccine. MTN spoke with family physician and President of St. Peter’s Health Medical Group, Dr. Todd Wampler, to find out what makes this booster different from the others.
The bivalent booster works to hinder not only the original Covid-19 virus but also the virus’ mutations, specifically the Omicron BA.4 and BA.5 mutations. They work to keep people better immunized and better able to fight back against such strains of Covid.
“The Covid virus continues to evolve and present different challenges to the immune system, it has a slightly different face. And so, we have to evolve the vaccine to keep up with that changing face of the virus. It happens a little bit more quickly than with other viruses. So, by keeping up with it by continuing to change the vaccine and making it more closely match the current viruses out there, we offer better protection,” says Wampler.
Folks are recommended to have at least the preliminary vaccine and then wait at least 2 months before receiving the bivalent booster.
Additionally, you must be 12 or older to receive the Pfizer booster and 18 or older for the Moderna booster.
Boosters can be found at pharmacies or at St. Peter’s for established patients. Appointments are also available through Lewis & Clark Public Health by signing up online. For example, there are still some spots available for their vaccine clinic on Saturday, September 24th.
Dr. Wampler also wants to encourage folks to get their influenza vaccine, as well, which can be administered during your same visit to receive the booster.
“I want people to also remember it's still important to get a flu shot. And at our vaccine clinic at the St. Peter’s Health Medical Group, we're giving the flu shot together with the Covid booster if that's what people would want. And we definitely encourage that, because the flu season may be very prominent this year, and we want everybody to not forget about influenza because that’s important too,” says Wampler.