Health officials in the east recommend new vaccine as COVID cases rise

Published: Sep. 13, 2023 at 7:34 PM EDT
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GREENVILLE, N.C. (WITN) - As COVID numbers increase in the United States, health officials in the East say residents should get updated on their immunizations.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, new COVID shots available this week made by Pfizer and Moderna will target a subvariant of Omicron.

They say those at the highest risk of contracting the virus include those with comorbidities, the immunocompromised, and the elderly.

The Director for Infection Prevention at UNC Health Lenoir in Kinston, Brittany Tice, says the hospital has seen an increase in COVID cases over the last several weeks.

“I know a lot of our outpatient facilities have seen an increase, maybe a few outbreaks and so we’ve gotten some of that volume from those patients within the community, and then just patients from home, I guess they’ve got different family members, so we’ve just seen an uptick in our volume, of course that results in those patients requiring hospitalization” says Tice.

Tice says in North Carolina, there are nearly 600 patients hospitalized, with 11 percent of those requiring ICU level of care.

Meanwhile, officials at ECU Health in Greenville say on August 30th, there were 39 COVID-positive inpatients across the system and on September 12th, there were 57.

For the first time, the cost of COVID-19 vaccines will not be covered by the federal government, though most insurance plans, both private and public, will cover them.