Special to Atmore News
The January 28 Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) affirmed the value of COVID-19 booster doses in preventing infections and deaths from COVID-19.
The report states that during the periods of Delta and Omicron variant emergence, COVID-19 vaccination protected against both variants. Even though COVID-19 vaccine effectiveness decreased with the emergence of the Delta variant and vaccine-induced immunity waned, protection against hospitalization and death has remained high.
Unvaccinated adults had a five times higher risk of infection compared with adults who were fully vaccinated with a booster.
Alabama was included in the 25 jurisdictions that participated in the research: Alabama, Arkansas, California, Colorado, District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Nebraska, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, New York City (New York), Rhode Island, Seattle / King County (Washington), Tennessee, Texas, Utah, and Wisconsin.
All eligible persons are advised to stay up to date with COVID-19 vaccinations. Three COVID-19 vaccines are authorized or approved for use in the United States to prevent COVID-19. Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna (COVID-19 mRNA vaccines) are preferred.
Moderna announced Monday that its vaccine has full Food and Drug Administration approval for adults age 18 and older. The Johnson & Johnson / Janssen COVID-19 vaccine can be given in some situations.
For more information about booster shots and when they should be received, visit https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/booster-shot.html
To locate a vaccination site near you, visit alabamapublichealth.gov/covid19vaccine/. The study can be viewed at cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/71/wr/mm7104e2.htm.
*Be sure to get tested for COVID-19
*If you have symptoms of COVID-19, visit www.alabamapublichealth.gov or https://dph1.adph.state.al.us/covid-19/to locate a testing site.
Free at-home tests
You may also order free home tests from www.covidtests.gov. The State Health Officer has issued a standing order for over-the-counter home COVID-19 tests that have been issued an emergency use authorization or are approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
While a prescription is not required to purchase over-the-counter tests, this standing order can be used as a prescription by licensed pharmacists in Alabama if needed.
Every home in the U.S. is eligible to order four at-home COVID-19 tests. The tests are completely free of charge. Orders will usually ship in 7-12 days. Order your tests now so you have them when you need them.
Remember the symptoms
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that people with COVID-19 have had a wide range of symptoms reported — from mild symptoms to severe illness. Symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure to the virus.
Anyone can have mild to severe symptoms. People with the following symptoms may have COVID-19:
*Fever or chills
*Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
*Muscle or body aches
*New loss of taste or smell
*Congestion or runny nose
*Nausea or vomiting
This list does not include all possible symptoms.
CDC will continue to update the list as they learn more about COVID-19. Older adults and people who have severe underlying medical conditions like heart or lung disease or diabetes seem to be at higher risk for developing more serious complications from COVID-19 illness.
Please do not visit the emergency department for testing or for symptoms or reasons that do not require emergent care.
For general COVID-19 questions, call 1-800-270-7268 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Telephone calls are answered from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, excluding holidays.
Interpreters are available. For frequently asked questions and to check your symptoms, visit the Alabama.gov COVID-19 Information Hub at https://www.alabamapublichealth.gov/index.html
The K-12 school guidance was updated on January 13, 2022, and can be found at the following link: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/schools-childcare/k-12-guidance.html.
Alabama-specific updates are currently in progress and will be posted to the Alabama Department of Public Health’s website (alabamapublichealth.gov/covid19/schools.html) as they are available.
Additionally, the Early Care and Education / Child Care Programs guidance was updated on January 28, 2022, and can be found at the following link: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/schools-childcare/child-care-guidance.html.
Finally, the guidance for Institutions of Higher Education was updated on February 7, 2022, and can be found at the following link: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/colleges-universities/considerations.html.
Those involved in decision-making in the situations for schools, child care and higher education are encouraged to view the resources linked above.