According to the Minnesota Department of Health, less than 5% of Minnesotans are up to date on recommended COVID-19 vaccine doses.
This includes MDH’s weekly influenza and respiratory disease activity report for the week ending October 14.
Data show a general increase in hospitalization rates for RSV. After slow growth over the past two months, the rate of COVID-19 hospitalizations is about the same as last week.
But the rollout of updated COVID-19 vaccines has been slow.
According to MDH, less than 5% of Minnesotans are up to date on recommended COVID-19 vaccine doses. The MDH website says, “For ages 6 months to 4 years, up to date means at least two doses of a COVID-19 product, one of which should be the 2023-2024 COVID-19 vaccine” For ages 5+, by date ie A single dose of the COVID-19 vaccine in 2023-2024.”
“As they’re rolling out these vaccines, they’re making them more and more specific to the type of Covid that we’re seeing out there right now. So if you haven’t got it, you really haven’t. The best protection against the current strain, “HealthPartners Occupational and Environmental Physician Dr. Zach McKinney said.
However, some people have expressed challenges when trying to get the updated vaccine.
“With this updated formulation, the 2023-2024 Covid vaccine, there really isn’t a supply issue. Where we’ve seen some bottlenecks in delivery channels is with respect to some patients wanting to be vaccinated as quickly as possible. So there’s plenty. For Cube Pharmacy said Erin Suomala, manager of clinical services.
Suomala said the delivery issues have been resolved and the Cube is now in good stock condition.
However, high demand for vaccines in addition to obligations to dispense prescriptions means they are still running into some problems.
“The main thing is to have the staff and resources to make sure we can do it safely,” Suomala said. “We have incredibly high demand for Covid vaccines right now, which is a good thing. That’s a good thing. We’d like to see people getting vaccinated, but the demand is definitely too high.”
“I think people who are really eager to get vaccinated can find the vaccine, but vaccinations in clinics are limited,” said Lynn Bahta, immunization clinical advisor in the Division of Infectious Disease, Epidemiology and Control at MDH. In this case, it’s moving slowly.” The pace of product availability is fast. Some clinics are still waiting for sufficient supplies to start vaccinating, and it’s not uncommon when you see vaccine rollouts in the private sector where we rely on public programs like ours. Not keeping. Nationwide epidemic.”
Bahta said there are similar problems with new vaccines to protect against RSV, which are recommended for people over 60, pregnant people, infants and toddlers, and children at risk of severe RSV illness and those in their second trimester. .
“That’s what’s being rolled out slowly this fall. Again, there are some hurdles in getting these products out there. I think we need to be patient and work with your health care provider if they’re having trouble getting the products. There are other ways they can protect their young children,” Bahata said.
Bahata said that if a person is eligible for the Covid-19, influenza and RSV shots, it is safe to get them all at the same time.
Dr. McKinney agrees and said this helps avoid missing vaccines due to not wanting to schedule another appointment.
For those who have received the Covid-19 vaccine in the past and are wondering if they should skip this round, Dr. McKinney hopes people will consider those most vulnerable to Covid-19.
He also said, “Really my biggest concern is long-term covid. It’s something I’m seeing in my patients and we don’t know how to predict who will get it and when.” “It’s going to happen. We know that the more times you’ve had Covid, the higher the risk you’re going to get it… It’s a really complicated condition that can be very debilitating.”
Three experts we spoke to said it doesn’t matter which brand people go with for their updated COVID-19 vaccine.
Bahata advises people to check with their insurance company before going to make sure there are no restrictions on coverage.
You can find places to get your flu and COVID vaccines here.