Fewer people getting COVID-19 booster shot, local health experts remind community to stay on guard | Coronavirus

WINNEBAGO AND BOONE COUNTIES (WREX) – Local health officials say the number of people receiving boosters is decreasing in Stateline. While COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations are down, the low amount of recalls coming into the arms raises some concerns about what might happen in our future.

Health officials can see light coming out of the COVID-19 tunnel, but they say there is work to get to the end. They say boosters are a tool for getting out.

In Region 1, COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations have recently declined sharply. Local experts say now is not the time to let our guard down.

“Of course, the time to get it is when you don’t need it,” explained OSF HealthCare Medical Director Dr. Stephen Bartlett.

“We’ve seen it go down and then back up quickly how many times now over the last two or two and a half years? Again, that’s it going with caution while being cautiously optimistic,” the admin said. Boone County Public Health. Amanda Mehl.

Mehl says people rushed to get a boost over the holidays and during the Omicron surge. The people left are about to want one.

“I think a decent percentage of our community who are wondering if they want to be boosted or not. So I think one of the projects that we’re really addressing right now is how can we continue to provide a safe and credible education to people about what it means to get vaccinated, why this in addition to a primary series is very important right now,” Mehl said.

“The vaccine and the booster made an absolutely major difference to what happened in this recent surge,” Dr Bartlett said. He believes that without these remedies during the Omicron surge, even more patients would have suffered serious and severe symptoms of COVID-19.

Dr. Bartlett says those who have a booster almost never have severe symptoms of COVID-19. But the Illinois Department of Public Health reports that only 32% of the state’s population has received a booster shot. That’s about half of fully vaccinated people.

“This is unlikely to be the end of COVID,” Dr. Bartlett said. “The booster is for the next event down the road and keeps your immunity as high as possible.”

“Because every shot in every arm brings us one step closer to having COVID in our rearview mirror,” Mehl said of how the health department will continue to provide booster doses even when public interest is low.

Mehl says health care decisions ultimately belong to each patient, and the health department meets people where they are in the process.

Experts advise staying on your toes so that COVID-19 may soon take a back seat.

Dr. Bartlett says COVID-19 reminders can be a yearly routine, much like the flu shot. He says this would help protect against different variant surges.

UW Health confirmed with 13 News that all employees, including at SwedishAmerican Hospital, must have a COVID-19 reminder by May 2.

The Winnebago County Health Department is offering free vaccination and booster sites this week through the Stateline.

Here is a list of times and locations from February 14-20:

South Beloit High School Monday, February 14, 3:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m. Location: 245 Prairie Hill Rd., South Beloit, IL.

WCHD Clinic Wednesday, February 16, 5:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m. Location: 555 N Court St, Rockford, IL.

Auburn High School Thursday, February 17, 3-7 p.m. Location: 5110 Auburn St., Rockford, IL.

Pecatonica High School Friday, February 18, 12 p.m. – 4 p.m. Location: 1300 Main St., Pecatonica, IL.

WCHD Clinic Saturday, February 19, 8:00 a.m. – 10:00 a.m. Location: 555 N Court St, Rockford, IL.