New information on the latest medical expert on COVID vaccines

Updated vaccines offer protection against the Omicron variant in addition to the latest variant, Bivalent.

AUSTIN, Texas — The updated COVID-19 vaccines are designed to protect people from the worst effects of COVID and help reduce the spread of the virus in communities, which will help reduce risks for the most vulnerable populations, according to a medical expert from Texas.

Getting infected with COVID can have serious, long-lasting health effects because COVID symptoms are unpredictable. Health experts say those who contract COVID, regardless of age or medical condition, can still have symptoms months after recovery. Even mild cases of COVID can leave symptoms in individuals long after the contraction. However, long-term effects of vaccines are highly unlikely.

dr Neil Wingkun is an emergency room physician at Houston Methodist Hospital and explained that the previous vaccine was for the first strain of COVID. The newest strain is the Bivalent, and vaccines like Moderna, Pfizer, and Novavax are mostly targeting the current virus we’re seeing now.

“The dangers of COVID are still very real. Not only are people dealing with the acute respiratory effects, but people have noticed that they have had breathing difficulties. They had the typical fever and muscle aches, but especially in our older population, those that we classify as immunocompromised, those whose immune systems aren’t working as well, some of these people are still being hospitalized and we’re always seeing in some cases nor that these patients are not doing so well,” explained Wingkun.

dr Wingkun says people can get their updated vaccine and their flu shot at the same time, and side effects from receiving their vaccines are mostly mild.

“We see that people have pain in their arms. I know I had this for myself. Arm pain, general body aches, a little tired the next day,” Wingkun said. “But the [are] for a day compared to these truly extreme effects plus hospitalization or the effects of long-term COVID illness are far worse than the minimal side effects of vaccination.

According to health authorities and the Center for Disease Control guidelinesit is recommended for people with weakened immune systems, especially in crowded areas, to take precautions and wear a mask to protect themselves.

“We know that even with the first vaccine there was some protection. But now that we have this new bivalent vaccine it definitely helps us to provide more protection. I think if we see if the virus is evolving and what the course of the disease is like, we might need more vaccines and more boosters, but at the moment it looks like there aren’t any at the moment,” Wingkun said.

Health professionals stress that getting the COVID-19 vaccines doesn’t mean you can’t still get COVID. Rather, it prevents people from getting serious side effects or hospitalization afterwards.

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Laura Coffey

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